Using a process known as “micro-encapsulation," scientists has developed a “two flavor” ice cream. The ice cream starts as one flavor and - after immediately breaking down inside the mouth - releases a second flavor.
Using a process known as “micro-encapsulation,” Elizabeth
Fenner, a food science graduate student, and Ingolf Gruen, associate professor
and chair of food sciences, has developed a “two flavor” ice cream. The ice
cream starts as one flavor and - after immediately breaking down inside the
mouth - releases a second flavor.
The two scientists, working at the University of Missouri,
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in Columbia, Mo., are
testing the experimental ice cream in a concoction that combines vanilla ice
cream with cherry micro-capsules.
“The process is commonly used in long-lasting chewing gum
and microwave cooking, but it really hasn’t been tried successfully in anything
cold or food that is swallowed quickly,” Fenner said. “We did face some challenges.
Obviously, ice cream doesn’t stay in your mouth as long as gum, so we had to
rely on the heat of the mouth to break down the coating in order to release the
Micro-encapsulation of food is a relatively new science that
is less than two decades old. It involves covering flavor compounds in a wax,
gelatin, protein or other type of casing just millionths of a millimeter in
size. In addition to chewing gum, the process is used to coat probiotic
bacteria for protection from gastric activity or to delay premature flavor release
in food during microwaving. Many long-acting pharmaceuticals use this
technology, Gruen says.
While taste tests have been favorable, the
micro-encapsulation also has other benefits for the ice cream. Volatile flavor
compounds in conventional ice cream might start breaking down after about six
months of storage, leaving ice cream somewhat tasteless, and food coloring
darkens over time. Fenner found that the encapsulated ice cream can potentially
last twice as long in original taste, texture and color.
“While we don’t have plans to make this commercially
available just yet, that possibility is always open,” Gruen said. “We’ve had
other products open to the commercial market in the past, such as our new
pro-biotic ice cream that was introduced to a limited audience this month.
Taste testers also indicated that they would consider buying the flavor-release
product and many wanted more
Microencapsulation Could Add Flavor to Ice Cream
October 19, 2011