Recent Innovation Scales up 3-D Food Printing Market Demand
3 – D printed food is referred to a prepared meal through an automated additive process. At present, food can be 3-D printed by material extrusion, which requires paste-like inputs of mousse, purees, etc. The method of 3-D food printing is still in its initial stages, and there is a lot that needs to be done for the technology to be considered worthwhile.
Recently, a group of researchers thought that they have come to a step closure to make mass industrialization of 3-D food printing. This may become a big breakthrough in the 3-D Printing Industry.
The team has been working for a few years and has developed different technologies that would modify starch and obtain gels from them. These gels would have ideal characteristics to be used as ‘ink’ for producing 3-D Printed Food.
The first gel that was produced by the team was based on cassava starch. They also developed a method that could modify starch. It has been stated that they applied electrical discharge to oxygen, which produced oxygen. The gas was then made to bubble in the container with a mixture made up of water and cassava starch in suspension before it was dried. As a result, modified starch was produced.
Researchers used different combinations of time, temperature, and ozone concentration to obtain gels with different properties. This helped them find the mixture that had the right consistency and could be used for 3- D Printing.
In the last two years, another type of starch modification method has been developed by the team that involves dry heating cassava and wheat starch inside an oven, and controlling their temperature and time. This method helped them in getting a gel that has optimal printability, i.e., it can create a 3-D structure that will maintain its form after it is printed.
The researchers involved in the project applied their separate experiences to obtain gels that have better printability and which will be able to make food that has better shape, definition, and texture. All these form important parameters for product acceptability and are a step into the future.
These new methods of producing hydrogels that act as ‘ink’ or of producing modified starch to 3-D print food may make the process achievable on a large scale. Also, this process is cheap and easy to implement.
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