Flo Chemical Corporation

Making Freeman Zein for over 35 Years

Zein Applications

  • What is Zein?
  • Food and Pharmaceutical Applications
  • Aeronautic Industry Applications
  • New Applications in Development

What is Zein?

ZEIN is the water-insoluble prolamine from corn gluten, manufactured initially as a concentrated powder. It is unique in its ability to form odorless, tasteless, clear, hard and almost invisible edible films. Since ZEIN films are completely safe to ingest, it is the perfect coating for foods and pharmaceutical ingredients.


ZEIN is extracted from gluten by physical rather than chemical means and is, therefore, totally natural. It is a food ingredient, not an additive. ZEIN is shown to be remarkably resistant to bacterial attack, which frequently decomposes other proteinaceous material. It seems to repel many insects such as the Indian Meal Moth, which often infests nut and grain products that are unprotected.


ZEIN is presently used to coat candy, flavors, pharmaceutical tablets and ingredients which are encapsulated in time-release, granulation and seeds. The coating forms used can be general film coating and enteric coating. In the food and confection industries, ZEIN is used for coating enriched rice, candies, such as chocolates and jelly beans, dried fruits, nuts, nut meats, and also for the encapsulation of flavors and sweeteners.


ZEIN can be combined with many other ingredients to give different coating qualities and with colors to give a wide range of color coatings. It is considered a better coating than shellac (confectioner’s or pharmaceutical glaze) because ZEIN coating solutions dry faster offering extended shelf-life, particularly under high-humidity and high-heat conditions.

Food and Pharmaceutical Applications 

As a moisture, temperature and oxidation barrier

  • Coating frozen pizza crust to prevent moisture absorption
  • Coating vitamins so they can be used in baking without decomposition
  • Coating french fries so they crisp when cooked without absorbing as much oil
  • Coating nuts to prevent rancidity

For flavor masking

  • Coating iron or other edible minerals with offensive tastes
  • Coating pharmaceutical tablets

For timed-release

  • Encapsulating flavors and sweeteners to provide chewing gum with long lasting flavor
  • Encapsulating the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals to provide extended release

For protection from decay, spoilage and dissolving

  • Coating vegetables and fruits as they are shipped after harvest to extend shelf life
  • Granola bars and other food items for adverse heat situations
  • MRE food packages
  • Rice and bakery goods

For adhesion of flavors

  • Adhering pet foods with flavoring
  • Adhering chips and snack foods with flavoring
  • Adhering confections with flavors
Aeronautic Industry Applications

Application:  Used in the electrophoretic process for chrome plating repair by the aeronautic industry.

Description:  ZEIN is the water-insoluble prolamine from corn gluten, manufactured initially as a concentrated powder. It is unique in its ability to form odorless, tasteless, clear, hard and almost invisible edible films. ZEIN F4000 LE (Low Electrolyte) is re-extracted F4000, a process which reduces the electrolyte level (sodium and potassium) of the ZEIN. The low electrolyte property allows full burn off during the turbine blade repair process.

Process:  Solubilized ZEIN LE is mixed with metal powders and applied to turbine blade surface.  It acts as an adhesive to secure metal powders onto turbine blade surface.  High temperature is then applied to fuse the powders into the blade surface.  ZEIN LE, an organic product, burns off during the fusion process, leaving no residue


  • Secures the metal powder onto the surface of turbine blade
  • Renews the blade with a corrosion resistant surface, extending its life.
  • Creates an exceptionally smooth surface
  • The process is accomplished with just a few grams of product
  • Works with Aluminum-Chromium and other metal powders

Each order is accompanied with a certificate of analysis and other required documents.

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New Applications in Development
Researchers are studying medical applications such as using the Zein molecule to carry biocompounds to targeted sites in the human body

Other packaging/food safety applications that have been researched include frozen foods, ready-to-eat chicken, and cheese and liquid eggs.

Zein can be further processed into resins and other bioplastic polymers, which can be extruded or rolled into a variety of plastic products.  With increasing environmental concerns about synthetic coatings (such as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA) and the current higher prices of hydrocarbon-based petrochemicals, there is increased focus on Zein as a raw material for a variety of nontoxic and renewable polymer applications, particularly in the paper industry.

If you would like to find out how Zein can be a key component in your application, click here