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Sticky fingers and dripping cones when eating ice cream may become soon ancient history with a version of the treat that lasts longer in the heat of the sun and high temperatures.
A group of scientists from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy found a method of keeping the ice cream’s main ingredients bound together even in some of the harshest conditions.
The research team explained that they were inspired by a Japanese soybean-based food named ‘natto.’ In natto, there is a protein that glues together fermented soybeans into lots of sticky strings.
The same process was replicated in ice-cream by British scientists who were able to stick together frozen water, fats, and air in the delicious treat. They explained that they extracted a naturally occurring protein from the Japanese dish and introduce it in an experimental ice cream.
As a result, ice cream stays frozen for longer, while its taste is not altered at all. Scientists claim that the same protein may prevent ice cream from crystallizing in the freezer, too. Additionally, because saturated fats are no longer required in ice cream for consistency, producers may create assortments that are low in calories.
Study authors said that the slow-melting ice cream may hit the shelves in three to five years’ time.
The protein found in natto was extracted from soybeans. Its sticky properties allow air bubbles to attach to fat droplets. The wonder protein may prove to be a treasure chest for ice cream makers since they would no longer have to worry that their products may deteriorate.
Plus the supply chain will no longer need to maintain constant low temperature to prevent ice cream from going liquid. Plus, the protein may be used in other products as well as a coating ingredient.
Past studies had found that the protein was also a successful repellent of bacteria in liquid environments. But the recent study is the only one to apply it on a edible product.
But developing the melt-proof ice cream is not at its beginnings. In 2012, Nestle rolled out in China a type of ice cream that allegedly didn’t melt in the sun for nearly three hours.
Yet, the moniker for the ice cream was exaggerated because the coating Nestle applied on the popsicle only prevented the ice cream from dripping, not from turning into soup inside its coating. Nevertheless, the company marketed the ice cream as melt proof and earned revenues accordingly.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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