Bringing delight by investigating a no-melt ice cream

After creating ice cream samples with various levels of polyphenol extract, Wicks ran some meltdown tests. She positioned ice cream samples on a wire mesh, each above its own beaker. The beakers sat on scales to record the weight of the dripping ice cream. With this data, she measured the melting rate, assessing how quickly each ice cream sample melted. Wicks also took photos of the ice cream as it melted over several hours.

These measurements and visuals, along with microscopic images of the ice cream samples’ ice crystals, fats and proteins, helped Wicks get a better understanding of what polyphenols do to ice cream.

Prior research had shown that polyphenols can decrease the ice cream’s melting rate, but little information was available to explain how that happened. At UW–Madison, Wicks was able to combine the expertise from Professor Brad Bolling’s lab, which had been studying polyphenol chemistry for a while, with the expertise of Professor Richard Hartel’s lab, which has the scoop on ice cream science.

“Ice cream already brings delight and happiness to many people around the world. So, to be able to make a new novelty and with this new technology was an amazing opportunity,” Wicks says.

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Note: Brad Bolling is a Discovery to Product (D2P) innovator.