Casein plastic, or ‘milk plastic’, has been used in the Americas for decades, due to its low production costs and accessibility. Casein is defined as, “A white, tasteless, odorless protein precipitated from milk by rennin.” (“Casein” 1) and “a slow digesting protein that plays a large role in preventing muscle breakdown.” (“Casein Protein“ 1) Not only is casein an important protein that all mammals need to survive, but this vital protein has also been very important throughout recent American and English history. Though there are many ways casein has been used in history, the most popular ways that this protein has been manipulated through history is in plastics, food, and nutritional supplements.
Casein is found in all mammalian milk, being 80% of the proteins found in cow’s milk and anywhere from 25-40% of the proteins found in human’s milk. This valuable protein is separated from milk through a practice called ultrafiltration. (“Casein Protein” 1) Since casein is somewhat insoluble, it often forms structures named “micelles” that increase water solubility. Micelles, simply put, are a mass of molecules in a colloidal mixture. When milk is pasteurized, heat causes casein and micelle structures to become disturbed, therefore breaking them apart to form simpler structures. Casein is composed of a group of like phosphoproteins that are found in mammalian milk fat. Casein is a very important nutrient required for most life forms, especially for the young and the elderly. (“Casein Protien.” 1)
Not only does casein supply calcium to strengthen bones, but it is a protein in and of itself, therefore it also strengthens muscles. On top of that, casein possesses the ability to maintain stable amino acid elevations for up to seven hours, which can aid in quick digestion and raising the metabolic rate. In recent study, scientists have estimated casein to have one of the most positive effects on the human body out of any other mammalian-produced protein. (“Facts That You Need To Know About CASEIN” 1) On top of this, “Observational and intervention studies show that cow's milk most likely has a positive influence on growth in children.” (“Positive Effects on Children: Whey vs. Casein." 1)
There are two types of casein – technical and edible. Edible casein is what is commonly added into foods and supplements. Technical casein has a strong binding characteristic, and is therefore commonly seen in the manufacture of glues and paints. As edible casein has such a positive effect on the human body, it is often added into nutritional substances and supplements, milk, processed foods, and other dried and non-perishable goods. Some popular foods that may include casein are processed cheese, milk, pizza, and even fast food. Many companies that produce energy bars, muscle protein shakes, and energy drinks also add casein into their products because of its high nutritional value and low calorie count. Many athletes also ingest edible casein supplements because of the...