Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Vital wheat gluten can be modified to produce superabsorbent materials. In the study by George Robertson et al., vital wheat gluten is reacted with phosphoric acid to produce differing absorption properties. The cover, created with the software Mathematica, shows a digitally enhanced, 2D gel electrophoresis of a wheat gluten polymer that is chemically deconstructed to eliminate disulfide links and minimize secondary interactions. The peaks represent mass fractions of polymer subunits on a plane of isoelectric points and relative molecular mass. All subunits can have charge-charge interactions or hydrogen bonding, but only those in the light green and light blue regions can extend chains. Acid treatment significantly alters this topography and produces an unusually high water free swelling capacity. DOI: 10.1002/app.39440