Photo/IllutrationA durable gel in a cylindrical shape 9 millimeters in diameter, left, and after it was crushed by weights of 224 kilograms (Provided by Tatsuya Nojima, a member of the study team and an associate professor at Southeast University of China)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Scientists have discovered a "miracle recipe" to create an ultra-strong new gel.

Sweating over a hot "stove" in their lab, the researchers cooked up egg whites to make the durable new material.

In tests, they found a 9-milimeter cylinder of the stuff was not squashed under weights of up to 220 kilograms despite comprising 80 percent water.

The formula could lead to the development of new protein-based materials with enough strength to be put to practical use.

Everyone knows that when egg whites are heated or boiled, they turn from liquid to solid, but only a scientist can take that knowledge to new unexplored heights and return with a magic formula.

The recipe is actually simple. Just add a chemical agent to egg whites and heat 'em up on the stove. Voila!

The gel, developed by a team that includes scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and other institutions, has the high intensity equivalent of conventional materials used in medical fields, according to the team.

“We will strive to develop practical materials in the medical and other fields based on the mechanism gained through a widely known foodstuff--egg whites,” said Tatsuya Nojima, an associate professor at Southeast University of China and a former special-appointment assistant professor of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Scientists added water and ionic surfactants developed by the team to an egg white and stirred the solution to condense the egg proteins. Then they heated this up to form the gel.

The hydrogel is 150 times stronger than that of a gelled egg white prepared by boiling and comparable to that of strong chemically synthesized hydrogels thanks to its uniform structure of higher proteins. The material also can be decomposed by microorganisms.