Science

Banana waste product makes for slower-melting ice cream

Ice cream with added banana-derived cellulose nanofibrils takes longer to melt
Ice cream with added banana-derived cellulose nanofibrils takes longer to melt
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A banana rachis is circled in this photo
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A banana rachis is circled in this photo
Ice cream with added banana-derived cellulose nanofibrils takes longer to melt
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Ice cream with added banana-derived cellulose nanofibrils takes longer to melt

Mmm, how about adding some agricultural waste to your ice cream? Actually, it might not be a bad idea at all. According to scientists from Colombia's Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, doing so helps keep ice cream from melting, plus it has some other benefits.

Bananas grow on trees in closely-grouped bunches, and each of those bunches is in turn is attached to a central stalk known as the rachis. When all the bunches are picked, the leftover rachis are simply discarded. Collaborating with colleagues from Canada's University of Guelph, however, a team led by Dr. Robin Zuluaga Gallego put those rachis to use.

A banana rachis is circled in this photo
A banana rachis is circled in this photo

The scientists first ground up some of the stalks, and then extracted cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) from them – nanofibrils are tiny fibers that are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. These flavorless CNFs were subsequently added to ice cream, at concentrations ranging from 0 to three-tenths of a gram per 100 grams of ice cream.

First of all, it was found that adding CNFs to the dessert caused it to melt much more slowly than conventional ice cream. Not only does this mean that people could take longer eating it in hot weather, but it also means that the ice cream is less sensitive to the sort of temperature changes that occur when it's taken in and out of the freezer – this could prolong its shelf life.

Additionally, CNF-enriched low-fat ice cream proved to have a higher viscosity than its regular counterpart, improving its creaminess and texture. It is believed that this is due to the CNFs helping to stabilize the fat structure of the ice cream. If that is the case, then it's possible that the nanofibrils could be used to replace some of the fats in ice cream, bringing its calorie count down.

And if the CNF thing ultimately doesn't work out, scientists at the University of Dundee have previously produced slow-melt ice cream, using a protein derived from mold.

The research was presented this Wednesday at the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Source: American Chemical Society

5 comments
McDesign
This is awful - it will further destroy ice cream taste, like Good Humor did when they bought Breyer's and added additives.
Nik
Ice cream, is supposed to be cream, that is frozen, and then blended, to make it creamy. Add anything else, and it is not Ice Cream. I recently bought some coconut milk, that had 'bulking agents,' added. These agents were based on cotton waste, which as it was indigestible, was considered safe. It was not, it gave me an allergic reaction which necessitated me taking antihistamine tablets for a week. Why do otherwise intelligent idiots want to (f++k around with) adulterate our food with stuff that we wouldn't normally eat Maybe as punishment, and education, these over educated fools should be made to eat a plate full of mixed agricultural waste, every day for a week.
rude.dawg
That's right Nik. Most of what people nowadays think of as "ice cream" actually isn't. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/01/16/the-great-ice-cream-lie-weve-all-been-living-and-eating_a_21647932/
BanisterJH
So, I have to wonder if there are nanofibrils in any food we eat already, and if so, in what concentration? Generally the body doesn't digest cellulose, so I hope the indigestible nanofibrils wouldn't (by virtue of their tiny size) lodge themselves in part of the wall of the digestive tract for an extended period, causing the body to have an adverse reaction to their presence. Or maybe, they've been around for millions of years, and our digestive tracts have already evolved to deal with them in a perfectly adequate manner.
ljaques
Bbbut, I thought they =already= added sawdust to the ice cream. The fast food joints can no longer call the drinks "milk shakes" because there is no milk in them, so they just call them "shakes". A decade back, Tillamook stopped allowing Bandon cheese to be made in Bandon and reformulated all their cheeses. Bandon is sh*t today, as is Tillamook Medium Cheddar (and probably all their others) now that they're using synthetic substitutes instead of organic cultures. This banana cellulose will likely do the same for ice cream. <sigh>
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