A protein found in corn kernels could soon replace household plastic used in applications from pill coatings to packaging.

‘Inviz’ is a biodegradable, low-nutrient protein present in corn that can be used as a gum base or in films, packaging, adhesives, coatings and glazes, according to US ethanol producer Poet.

Inviz has been derived from less-valuable protein by fermenting ethanol without using heat.

The company claims Inviz is a purer corn protein than other zein products, which are exposed to sulphur dioxide in the wet-milling process.

The US National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research senior scientist and leader in zein research John Lawton said Inviz could be used to make biodegradable plastics, time-release capsules for pills and other substances.

Poet produces more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 manufacturing facilities nationwide.