New Method Created to Create 3D “Food Inks” for Fresh Vegetable Ingredients

A ‘food landscape’ assembled with 3D-sized designs made from garden peas, carrots and corn. Credit: SUTD / NTU / KTPH

Singapore researchers are developing a new method to ‘print’ fresh vegetables, making it a tastier, more nutritious meal for patients with difficulty swallowing.

Researchers from Nanyang University of Technology, Singapore (NTU Singapore), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) have developed a new way to create “food inks” that protect food from fresh and frozen vegetables. and the flavor is better than existing methods.

Cooking inks are generally made from liquid or semi-solid pureed foods, then extruded into a nozzle 3B and assembled layer by layer.

Pureed foods are given to patients who have difficulty swallowing, commonly known as dysphagia. To present the food in a visually appealing way, health workers used silicone molds to form mashed foods that required effort and time to store.

While 3D food printing indicates that food can be easily produced in any shape and tissue in a shorter time, anhydrous foods and frozen dried powders used as food inks typically contain high percentages of food additives such as hydrocolloids (HCs) to stabilize. complicate and provide a smoother printing process. High concentrations of HCS generally alter the taste, texture, and aroma of printed food and cause anorexia in patients with dysphagia. This can lead to a decrease in food intake and nutrition among patients.

To cope with this challenge, the research team examined various combinations of fresh and frozen vegetables to stabilize the food complex.

In addition to better preserving the nutrition of printed foods, they also made it tastier. The method of preparation of these food compounds should lead to an increase in food consumption by making a positive contribution to the physical health and mental state of patients.

3D printed food pictures

3D formats representing five formulations of one type of food ink represent optimized formulas of ink with images drawn around the boxes. The print scores represented in the upper right corner are rated for form fidelity and form stability. Credit: SUTD / NTU / KTPH

In addition, the group discovered that vegetables could be divided into three categories that required a different hydrocolloid treatment to be printed. For example, garden peas, carrots, and tea were selected as representatives in each category, which did not require one HC, one type of HC, and two types of HC, respectively (see pictures).

Prof. Yi Zhang, Chief Investigator of the NTU Team, said, “Our technology helps dysphagic patients get a nutritious and safe diet. Their diet is more dignified, which allows them to socialize and consume food that feels, tastes and tastes like normal food. The 3D printing method of fresh vegetables can be easily used in hospitals, nursing homes, kindergartens for the elderly population with dysphagia and other swallowing disorders. Our research is also a step forward in digital gastronomy where we can meet specific requirements set by nutritionists, such as nutrition individualization and visual appeal. ”

Corresponding author and Head of the Engineering Product Development Column at SUTD, Prof Chua Chee Kai, added: “The next frontier of supplementary production is 3D food printing. As the 3D food printing landscape continues to evolve, we are pleased to continue to push the boundaries of this industry to find innovative solutions to global issues such as food security and sustainability. ”

Gladys Wong, co-founder of KTPH and Chief Dietitian, said: “3D Food Printing is not an innovation. I believe that in the near future it will be an appropriate approach to provide food and nutrition to our growing aging population. Our weak, elderly patients and those with difficulty swallowing will be able to enjoy a visual and enjoyable eating experience even with a restrictive diet of smooth puree dishes. ”

Reference: “3D printing of fresh vegetables using food hydrocolloids for dysphagic patients” by Aakanksha Pant, Amelia Yilin Lee, Rahul Karyappa, Cheng Pau Lee, Jia An, Michinao Hashimoto, U-Xuan Tan, Gladys Wong, Chee Kai Chua and Yi . Zhang, December 17, 2020, Food hydrocolloids.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.foodhyd.2020.106546

Funding: National Additional Production Innovation Committee Project, National Research Foundation Singapore

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