Role of hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions in structure development of zein films

Qin Wang, Phillip Geil, Graciela Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zein has been studied for its potential as a biobased polymeric material. Due to the fact that films made exclusively from zein are brittle, composites of zein and oleic acid were prepared in our lab and formed into flexible films. Film properties were believed related to their structure. X-ray scattering measurements on zein films suggested the formation of layers along the plane of the film. Oleic acid seemed to play an important role in layer formation. However, X-ray measurements could not yield information on the nature of the interface between oleic acid and zein. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) was used to further investigate interaction between zein and oleic acid. Dynamic adsorption of zein from alcoholic solutions onto hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces generated by self-assembled monolayers of 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid or 1-octanethiol was monitored by SPR. It was observed that zein had a greater affinity for hydrophilic than for hydrophobic surfaces under the prevalent experimental conditions. A mechanism for structure development of zein-oleate films was proposed based on these results and previous X-ray measurements. It is suggested that the structure development involves hydrophilic adsorption of fatty acids onto the zein surface followed by hydrophobic associations leading to a layered film structure organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Biobased products
  • Film structure
  • Surface plasmon resonance
  • Zein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions in structure development of zein films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this