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article imageSlow-melting ice-cream invented

By Tim Sandle     Sep 5, 2015 in Food
Edinburgh - Summer is often synonymous with ice cream, especially walking through a park with a cone. The trouble is, it melts quickly often leading to sticky fingers. Not for much longer.
A new formulation produced by researchers based in Scotland manages to delay the melting effect of ice-cream. For those concerned about the addition of artificial chemicals, the new additive is a naturally occurring protein. The protein allows the ice-cream to remain close to frozen for a far longer period of time in hot weather. The ice-cream will melt eventually, but it will do so in a more even fashion rather than startling the person holding the cone with a torrent of melted sludge.
As an aside, the physics of ice-cream melting are complex. The melting rate is linked with amount of fat in the ice cream, along with the quantity of salt, the amount of air (density), and the types of "stabilizers" (such as emulsifiers) added during the preparation. Melting ice-cream is shown in the "cool" video below:
As a further advantage, BBC News explains, to those with an eye on calories, the new additive could allow ice-cream to be manufactured with lower levels of saturated fat, leading to the product containing fewer calories.
If this isn't enough, the protein is also said to improve the taste of ice-cream. It does this by preventing ice crystals from forming. This ensures that the ice-cream tastes smoother, giving it a more velvety texture.
The protein is called BsIA, and it is produced by bacteria. Interviewed by BBC Radio Five Live, the lead researcher, Professor Cait MacPhee, said that the ice-cream achieves these remarkable properties by binding together the air, fat and water within ice cream. In many ice-cream products fat molecules are artificially introduced to stabilize the oil and water mixture; the new protein replaces these added fats.
There could also be lower operating costs with the new product. Talking with Phys.Org, physicist Matthew Humphries enthused: "For manufacturers it's a fantastic find. It can be added to ice cream without altering the taste or mouth feel, it also means the finished ice cream can be stored at slightly higher (yet still very cold) temperatures, which will save on energy costs."
The research was a collaborative effort between technologists working at Edinburgh University and Dundee University.
The additive is not immediately available and further developmental work is required. The researchers expect it to be available on the market within the next three years.
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