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Scientists Invented Ice Cream That Doesn’t Melt as Fast

It involves a protein that some bacteria use as a kind of protectant coating

( Kevin Dodge/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

A cone towering with chilly, freshly-scooped ice cream and garnished with sprinkles seems like a great way to cool down on a hot day, that is until it drips and sticks everywhere as it melts. This is the minor sadness that scientists at the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee in Scotland seek to prevent. They have invented longer-lasting ice cream, writes a reporter for Press Association, online in The Guardian

The dessert innovation uses a protein that binds together the air, fat and water in ice cream. The addition also prevents the development of ice crystals the can form in improperly-stored ice ream. 

The melt-slowing protein is called BslA (Bacterial Surface Layer A), reports Rachel Feltman for The Washington Post. "When the bacteria Bacillus subtilis grows into colonies called biofilms, the colony protects itself by forming a coating of BslA, which forms a kind of 'bacterial raincoat,'" she writes.

"This is a natural protein already in the food chain. It's already used to ferment some foods," researcher Cait MacPhee, of the University of Edinburgh, told the BBC. "By using this protein we're replacing some of the fat molecules that are currently used to stabilize these oil and water mixtures so it can reduce the fat content, but it shouldn't taste any different."

The ice cream will eventually melt — but slowly enough to help prevent sticky fingers. 

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