Eating an ice cream cone is often a matter of timing. You need to snarf it down fast enough to avoid the sticky mess of melting frozen dairy product encroaching on your fingers, but slowly enough to stave off the painful brain-freeze phenomenon. If only science could help us out. Oh wait, it can.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland are looking into using a naturally occurring protein called BsIA to slow down the melting process in ice cream.
“The protein works by adhering to fat droplets and air bubbles, making them more stable in a mixture,” notes a news release from the university. When used in the frozen dessert, it creates a smooth texture and prevents ice crystals from forming. It may also let manufacturers create products that are lower in fat and calories than regular ice cream, but still have a desirable creamy consistency.
Though the concept of using BsIA in ice cream is new, the protein was described in a scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal back in 2013. It had the snappy title “BslA is a self-assembling bacterial hydrophobin that coats the Bacillus subtilis biofilm,” but “slower-melting ice cream” is a much catchier phrase for the general public to get excited about.
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SOURCE: Cnet, Amanda Kooser; ScienceAlert