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Making an ice cream that melts slower

Published Sep 7, 2015, 12:27 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 10:15 pm IST
This method could prevent gritty ice crystals from forming, ensuring a fine texture

Researchers have discovered a protein that can be used to create ice cream that melts more slowly than conventional products. It works by binding together air, fat and water — creating a pudding with a super-smooth consistency.

The development could also allow products to be made with lower levels of saturated fat — and fewer calories. Scientists at the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee say that ice cream made with the protein could be available in three to five years.


As well as keeping ice cream frozen for longer in hot weather, it could prevent ice crystals from forming, ensuring a fine, smooth texture like those of luxury brands. Prof. Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh’s school of physics and astronomy, who led the project, said: “We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, for consumers and for manufacturers.”

The team developed a method of producing the new protein — which occurs naturally in some foods — in friendly bacteria and it works by sticking to fat droplets and air bubbles, making them more stable in a mixture. It is believed that using the ingredient could benefit manufacturers as it can be processed without otherwise changing performance and can be produced from sustainable raw materials.

The protein, known as BslA, was developed with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall, of the University of Dundee, said: “It has been fun working on the applied use of a protein that was initially identified due to its practical purpose in bacteria.”

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