Banana Plant Extract Prevents Ice Cream from Melting

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Researchers reported that addition of nano cellulose fibers from banana plant can slow down melting of ice cream in turn increasing shelf life of desert

Researcher developed new method to increase shelf life of frozen food by replacing fats used to make the food product. Research team believes that cellulose nanofibers extracted from banana waste could improve ice cream in several ways. “In particular, the fibers could lead to the development of a thicker and more palatable dessert, which would take longer to melt. As a result, this would allow for a more relaxing and enjoyable experience with the food, especially in warm weather,” said Robin Zuluaga Gallego, Ph.D. researcher involved in study.

There are few drawbacks associated with frozen foods such as they melt quickly and have short shelf life. Scientists are trying to overcome these challenges using various methods. In recent study by Zuluaga Gallego, Jorge A. Velásquez Cock and colleagues at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Colombia) presented a different approach for this problem using banana plants. The study aimed to slow down melting and extend the shelf life of ice cream using a fibrous extract from banana fruit stems or rachis.

The research team extracted cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs), which are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair, from ground-up banana rachis. Then they mixed the CNFs into ice cream at varying concentrations, ranging from zero up to three-tenths of a gram per 100 grams of the dessert. Using a variety of analytical tools researchers evaluated the effects that CNFs on the popular frozen treat. As a result of the study it was observed that, ice creams with CNFs melted much more slowly than conventional ice creams. Furthermore, it was also reported that CNFs can help in increasing shelf life of ice cream or decrease its sensitivity to temperature changes that occur when moved to and from the freezer.

Moreover, CNFs increased the viscosity of low-fat ice cream, which improved the creaminess and texture of the product. Researchers believe that CNFs could stabilize the fat structure in ice creams by replacing fats and calories in desserts. Furthermore, the research team is working on exploring different types of fat such as coconut oil and milk fat, which affects the behavior of CNFs in other frozen treats.

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