According to a recent study by the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences, bioplastics made from protein sources have shown significant antibacterial properties. The materials could be used in medical applications, such as wound healing dressings, sutures, catheter tubes, and drug delivery.

Researchers at the University of Georgia tested three nontraditional bioplastic materials — albumin, whey and soy — as alternatives to conventional petroleum-based plastics that pose risks of contamination.

Albumin, a protein found in egg whites, demonstrated significant antibacterial properties when blended with a traditional plasticizer such as glycerol.

"It was found that it had complete inhibition, as in no bacteria would grow on the plastic once applied," said Alex Jones, a doctoral student in the department of textiles, merchandising, and interiors. "The bacteria wouldn't be able to live on it."

Researchers are encouraged by the antimicrobial properties of albumin-based bioplastics and their potential ability to prevent hospital-acquired infections.