Scientists explore possibility of 3D printing of food
Over the years, 3D printers have become an increasingly useful technology for creating everything from model roller coasters to houses. But what about food printing?
Adam Watson and Ziynet Boz, two UF/IFAS professors in the department of agricultural and biological engineering, have rethought the power of 3D printers, especially their ability to print food.
One of these 3D printers is in their lab ready to use. With a light touch of your finger, the device beeps and a variety of designs appear on the touch screen. Once a design is selected, the mechanical arm makes a high-pitched squeak as it begins its meticulous, careful layering, starting at the base. Then a viscous food substance such as mashed potatoes is sprayed out of cylinders of different nozzle sizes until the design is completed.
With embedded stock designs and your own upload capabilities, an unprecedented level of control is possible for those looking to enhance their plating skills.
But its benefits may extend beyond creative experimentation in food presentation.
For instance, the machine can also be useful for people with dysphagia or dysphagia.
People with dysphagia often rely on soft and moist foods such as yogurt or mashed fruits and vegetables. However, foods without these shapes may not be appetizing.
With a 3D food printer, shape and visual appeal can be restored. For example, a pureed carrot can be reshaped to resemble a regular carrot.
In addition, 3D food printers can be used for humanitarian purposes, such as in times of war or famine. Dehydrated food can be restored to its original state by adding water and 3D printed into a design that revives the appeal of a snack or main meal.
But there are other benefits as well.
3D food printers also give people the ability to pick and choose what’s inside the food they eat.
“It can be a great way for parents to make sure their kids get the nutrients they need from fruits and vegetables,” says Boz. Instead of having to buy hidden fruit and vegetable products, parents can make their own.
With 3D food printers, people also have more control over their food. food waste.
Leftover viscous food can be fed into 3D food printer for a new shape that’s both attractive and sustainable—reducing food waste.
Leftovers can also be printed onto tableware. Like a bread bowl, a viscous substance like mashed potatoes can be shaped into cups, cooked, and used to serve food.
“If you have edible tableware, it eliminates the need to wash dishes, resulting in less water being used or wasted,” says Watson.
While the machine reflects some Technological advances In food, there are still advancements to be made, one being the ability to cook food during or after printing to save food preparation time. Another simple way is to make a 3D food printer like any other home kitchen appliance—affordable, universal, and useful.
Students in Boz’s classroom, operating units and designing processes, are helping to envision that future. In the courses, students not only learn the ability to change the appearance of food, but also the machine’s ability to recreate food. From developing modeling tools to improve the transformation and flow of matter to prediction foodWith their printing capabilities, students are pushing the boundaries to see what can and cannot be done.
“We always do experiments with different ingredients of water or xanthan gum, a thickener to ensure the viscosity of the food,” says Boz. “The students really became the experts.”
University of Florida
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