Home Population Researchers see 3D-printed food as a nutritious solution to growing population and climate concerns

Researchers see 3D-printed food as a nutritious solution to growing population and climate concerns

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August 10, 2022 — To address food supply issues, a research team from Singapore University of Technology and Design is developing a systematic and efficient 3D food printing technique to serve alternative protein sources like algae, plants and insects.

The researchers note that people have already started using alternative sources of protein from plants, algae and insects in several regions of Africa, Asia and South America to produce sustainable and rich foods. in nutrients.

“The appearance and taste of these alternative proteins can be confusing to many. This is where the versatility of food 3D printing rises to the challenge as it can transform the way food is presented and overcome the inertia of consumer inhibitions,” says study co-author Chua Chee Kai. , Singapore University of Technology and Design.

For example, typical foods like carrots can be combined with alternative proteins like crickets to provide a more recognizable flavor to customers. A 3D food printer can then extrude this mixture of carrots and crickets to produce a visually appealing dish.

Greenhouse gases and environmental concerns
Researchers suggest that 3D-printed food could alleviate concerns about increased greenhouse gas emissions and increased water and land use due to conventional animal farming methods. animals for food.

3D printing technique may contribute to demand for high-protein foods expected to increase with aging and population growth (Credit: Singapore University of Technology and Design).“This research study can also be generalized to other food ingredients and the response of food inks such as texture, printability and water seepage can be included for optimization,” adds Aakanksha Pant, author article correspondent and research associate at Singapore University of Technology. and Design.

“The response surface method approach may lead researchers to adopt a similar method to optimize 3DFP edible inks that make up complex multicomponent food ingredients.”

Technique for determining alternative proteins
Researchers have developed a systematic engineering strategy to efficiently add alternative proteins into edible inks. The study team minimized time and resources by limiting the number of experimental trials while optimizing protein inks.

“Alternative proteins could become our main source of protein intake in the future,” says Professor Yi Zhang, senior researcher at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.

“This study offers a systematic engineering approach to optimize edible inks, enabling easy creations and customizations of visually pleasing, flavorful, and nutritionally adequate foods fortified with alternative proteins. We hope our work will encourage consumers to eat more of these little-known but sustainable foods.”

According to the researchers, alternative proteins could become the main source of protein in the future.Using the core composite design approach, the study team optimized protein ink compositions with three variables – carrot powder, protein, and xanthan gum. In addition to flavor, nutrients, and color, carrot powder helped provide the inks used to create mechanical strength.

The research also experimented with different proteins like sericin, soy, spirulina, crickets, and black soldier fly larvae. Experimentally developed inks were tested for 3D printability and syneresis, with the optimized inks achieving the highest printability and lowest syneresis.

The future of food and meat substitutes?
Industry players are using 3D printing to alter the texture and sensory experience of food. However, a food expert claimed that 3D technology was being held back from dominating the market by factors such as cost, capacity and a shortage of printable ingredients.

Food scientists have previously engineered the texture of chocolate through 3D printing. The scientists noted that the ideal textural experience in the case of 3D-printed chocolate largely depends on the structure, especially when multiple fractures can be encoded in its surface.

In other developments, MeaTech 3D and Umami Meats have signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint development of 3D printed cultured structured seafood. Meanwhile, in the area of ​​plant-based meat, Israeli company Redefine Meat has introduced 3D-printed plant-based meat that “bleeds” like typical cuts of beef and lamb.

In the area of ​​supplements, researchers at the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology have used 3D printing technology to transport resveratrol and curcumin in supplements throughout the human body, as they are typically difficult for the body to absorb. body.

By Nicole Kerr

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirstsister site of, NutritionInsight.

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