Monday, 31 August 2015

A Better Scoop: Scientists reportedly developing melt-resistant Ice Cream protein which helps it remain frozen for longer

File:Strawberry ice cream cone (5076899310).jpg
Photo By TheCulinaryGeek from Chicago, USA (Strawberry Ice Cream Cone  Uploaded by Mindmatrix) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

With temperatures still hovering around or above thirty degrees Celsius in most parts of North America, it's pretty clear that ice cream still has a limited window of time to shine through before it is carted away for the year. From classic and savory flavors such as chocolate and vanilla to oddities like chocolate chip cookie dough and heavenly hash, there seems to be a flavour to be had for every sweet tooth and dairy lover alike.  However, there's one thing that many hate during ice cream season, which is the almost instant melting of the product when exposed to the scorching heat of a Western afternoon. However, thanks to modern science, that problem may soon be a struggle of the past, and could help to save may from the dreaded sticky fingers caused by the separation of cream and ice.

According to claims made by a group of Scottish-based scientists from the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee, a new protein (BSiA) has been discovered which could help to reduce the speed at which ice cream loses its form. They even claim that the product occurs naturally in many places, such as friendly bacteria, therefore making it possible to produce both sustainably and naturally without the need for any genetic modification. Cait McPhee, the leader of this project, said she is ecstatic about improving the overall quality of ice cream "for both consumers and manufacturers,"  and is looking past the cone at helping to improve many foods, such as mayonnaise and chocolate, with this new discovery.

But how does it work? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. Like glue, the protein helps to bond the ice crystals with the sugar, milk and fat products found in the dessert. This prevents the ice from evaporating rapidly and therefore lets it stay solidified for longer, plus it ensures that both key components are evenly blended, giving it a smoother and more improved texture. McPhee also added that, because the protein helps to bond the two together in an even fashion, less fat would be needed in ice cream mixtures to stop the melting and could therefore help cut down on its caloric content. However, the best part is that the protein should not alter the product in any way, meaning that it will remain firmer, fresher and less caloric while leaving connoisseurs with the taste they have come to know and love. 



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