Ice Cream That Does Not Melt (Immediately)? Sweet!

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Melting ice cream on a bridge (Photo Credit: By HTO (Own Work) via Wikimedia Commons

What's better than a scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day? How about one that doesn't melt into a sticky puddle within minutes? That, believe it or not, could soon become a reality thanks to the ingenious scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee.

The secret behind this amazing ice cream that could hit grocery shelves within three years, is a naturally occurring protein called BsIA (Bacterial Surface Layer A). Present in foods like Natto, a Japanese breakfast made from fermented soybeans, it is extracted from the Bacillus subtilis bacteria. The scientists who revealed the exciting news on August 31, say that the microorganisms use the BsIA protein to encase and protect their colonies.

Bacillus subtilis via Wikipedia commons

University of Edinburgh's Cait MacPhee, who is leading this sweet effort, says the protein works perfectly for ice cream. That's because it has the physical properties to "protect" the frozen treat by binding together the air, fat, and water. This makes the ice cream more resistant to melting and allows it to remain firm for longer periods of time, even during hot summer days.

As if that is not good enough, the researchers say it also prevents ice crystals from forming. This they believe will allow manufacturers to produce ice creams that are lower in saturated fat and calories without compromising on the texture or flavor. Additionally, the protein will also help reduce their energy costs because the ice cream does not have to be kept as chilled when it is being made or transported.

Photo Credit: Kwekwe CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The icing on the cake or should we say ice cream ? Bacillus or hay subtilis as it is also called because of its presence in the upper layers of the soil, is a very common bacteria. It can be found everywhere - in water, air, ground and even our gastrointestinal tract. This means that it is a "friendly" bacteria and, therefore, perfectly safe to consume.

The researchers have published two papers on how the protein works. One outlines the biological process while the other talks about the physics. More importantly, they have extensively tested (and tasted) the ice creams incorporating the protein and even filed a patent for their process.

As to how long the ice cream will stay frozen? The scientists say that depends on the weather and the flavor. Though some may melt faster than others, they will still last a lot longer than current ice creams. This means we will finally be able to relax and savor the treat, one lick at a time - YUM!

Resources: telegraph.co.uk, zmescience.com, cnn.com

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1239 Comments
  • vswhart
    vswhart10 days
    YUMMY!!!!
    • nalahong1019
      Awesome!
      • silverstream77
        Cool!
        • ravenwing
          ravenwing14 days
          They cinda already have that at Sonic.
          • darklight_rp
            darklight_rp5 months
            yum! also eww i would not eant to eat bacteria even though the air is already full of them.
            • stephany_hannah
              I need this in my life right now! Since its summer my ice cream melts really fast, but this is a great solution! 🍦🍧🍨😍
              • ivanto1
                ivanto17 months
                wow so cool
                • wolfy_blue
                  wolfy_blue7 months
                  I wouldn't eat it because of all the chemicals and it would probally taste diffrent so I would stick to normal. But this is cool though. 😋🍧
                  • bday_summergirl
                    Cool! love ice cream!
                    • lovesanimals123
                      That's so cool