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Does Your Ice Cream Melt Too Quickly? Science Can Help

A small step for science, a huge leap for ice cream consumption in the summer.

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Scientists have made one of the most important ice cream-related discoveries of all time: According to the BBC, researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Dundee have found a protein that could help ice cream stay frozen longer. Essentially the protein, known as BsIA, works by "binding together the air, fat, and water in ice cream" in a way that lets the dessert melt more slowly.

The protein is a naturally-occurring bacteria

There are other advantages to incorporating this BsIA protein into ice cream recipes: It could mean ice cream made with lower levels of saturated fat, fewer calories, and possibly even less sugar without altering the taste.The Telegraph notes that the protein is said to also prevent the formation of "gritty ice crystals," which results in an ice cream with a smoother texture. This good news for all ice cream fans, whether you prefer a classic American style, more adventurous flavors, or your ice cream as a cocktail.

For those concerned about artificial foods, researcher Dr. Cait MacPhee tells the BBC that the protein naturally occurs in a number of foods as a bacteria: "This is a natural protein already in the food chain. It's already used to ferment some foods so its a natural product rather than being a 'Frankenstein' food." McPhee is hopeful that the protein can be applied to other foods as well, which means lower calorie — but still delicious — chocolate mousse and mayonnaise could hit store shelves in the near future.

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