26 April, 2018
As agriculture and food distributors work to keep up with the projected increases in population and demand what will food look and taste like in coming future? And maybe the answer may lie in 3-D printing, a quickly developing new technology that takes raw materials and layers them to create three-dimensional objects.
3-D printing has been used to make everything from car parts to gadgets and toys, and even artificial organs. But now, a new study has found promising applications in creating customizable food with 3-D printing.
The study was conducted by researchers from the EwhaWomans University in South Korea and will be presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in San Diego this month.
The researchers created a prototype 3-D printer that made food with similar properties at the nanoscale of actual food samples. The prototype was also able to turn carbohydrate and protein powders into food with microstructures and the researchers say this allows for people to control texture and food absorption.
Being able to customize food specifically catered to an individual’s personal nutritional needs could help prevent allergic reactions due to dietary restrictions and ensure that the optimal amount of nutrients was consumed with each meal.
The researchers also note that whether available as a home appliance or used at the industrial level, 3-D printed food could reduce food waste, packaging, and costs of storage and transportation.
It would also help meet the rising food demands as the world’s population increases in the coming years and one day, people could have cartridges that contain powdered versions of various ingredients that would be put together using 3-D printing and cooked according to the user’s needs or preferences.
The study is exciting and adds to the growing body of research around the many possible applications of 3-D printing.
Research is on early stages, but the research will move 3-D food printing to the next level, The researchers are continuing to optimize 3-D print technology to create customized food materials and products that exhibit longer storage times and enhanced functionality in terms of body absorption.”