Chemical omelette

Can an egg white be turned into a yolk?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

At­ten­tion! All ex­per­i­ments are per­formed by pro­fes­sion­als. Do not at­tempt.

Process de­scrip­tion

Egg white con­sists of wa­ter and pro­teins, which are large mol­e­cules com­posed of small­er ones called amino acids. “Aro­mat­ic” amino acids are a sub­set of these with spe­cial rings of atoms in their struc­ture. They re­act with ni­tric acid to form yel­low com­pounds. This process is called a xan­tho­pro­te­ic re­ac­tion.

A safer ver­sion of this ex­per­i­ment is in­clud­ed in the “Chem­istry of eggs” set from the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!