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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1211 Comments
  • wavebreaker
    wavebreakerMonday, October 5, 2020 at 7:18 pm
    That sound s nice.
    • karebear190
      karebear190Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 4:49 am
      I mean, they say that the longer the ice cream melts, the more chemicals and bad stuff is in there. Only, the shorter the ice cream melts and quicker then it's a more healthier and better natural ice cream! I learned that from when I was in Poland, the ice creams melt so quickly each time I go to my grandma's house to have some.
      • instagram22
        instagram22Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:42 pm
        so true
        • wolfieland
          wolfielandThursday, July 9, 2020 at 9:15 am
          this is nice but covid is not
          • bysa_57
            bysa_57Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 8:58 pm
            That Coronavirus is scary but you get to say inside all day and do nothing...(REALLY BORING)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • bysa_57
              bysa_57Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 8:55 pm
              That ice cream is melting really fast!!!
              • bsc
                bscThursday, May 7, 2020 at 8:35 am
                This is so cool!
                • iloveaudreylucy
                  iloveaudreylucyWednesday, April 29, 2020 at 6:53 am
                  The guy in the video said that this ice cream 🍦probably won’t be available for three to five years but that was in 2015 so maybe it’s available now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Not during the coronavirus outbreak though)
                  • lovetoread26
                    lovetoread26Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 8:43 am
                    Yes!! I hope it is...I love savoring ice cream. Thanks for pointing that out!
                  • c01e
                    c01eWednesday, April 29, 2020 at 6:42 am
                    Interesting
                    • glowinq_stxrs
                      glowinq_stxrsMonday, April 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm
                      Impressive