New 3D food printing technology to solve personalised diet needs

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

The researchers say 3D printing could revolutionise special diets. ©iStock
The researchers say 3D printing could revolutionise special diets. ©iStock
Scientists in Israel say they have created a 'revolutionary concept' for the 3D printing of food based on a new raw material, Crystalline Nano Cellulose (CNC).

They claim the technology will lead to the production of ready-to-eat foods for people with special dietary needs, while also helping to tackle food security problems.

The system was created by Yissum Research Development Company, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

According to Professor Ido Braslavsky, one of the developers, CNC is low in calories and has versatile properties that enable the binding of oil and proteins.

He said it can also "form stiff materials at low water content, and a gel-like material at higher water content"​.

"Via the Pickering Effect, CNC stabilises oil droplets in water and can interact with proteins. Thus, CNC can form a base for different textural elements with an infusion of nutrients at the desired amounts,"​ explained Braslavsky.

These properties make CNC a good base material for food printing.

Braslavsky added, "The platform includes in situ thermal processing, thus offering a single-stop food preparation with high flexibility."

Medical nutrition

The researchers said 3D food printing could serve a variety of needs and markets, including gluten-free, meat substitute, vegetarian and vegan, low-calorie, and medical nutrition segments.

Professor Yaron Daniely, president and CEO at Yissum, said: "This has the potential to address a variety of challenges facing the field of nutrition, from the demand for personalised food for people with diseases such as Coeliac or diabetes, (people with) personal nutritional habits such as vegetarians, to addressing the problem of (a) lack of food in developing countries."

Yissum's new technology also has the ability to cook, bake, fry and grill while printing. The result is a personalised low-calorie nutritional meal.

Daniely added: "The ability to automatically prepare, mix, form and cook personalised food in one device is a truly revolutionary concept.

"The idea is to enable full control of the substances used, for the purpose of creating healthy and tasty meals that can be eaten immediately."

Braslavsky presented the new food printing technology at the 3D Printing and Beyond: Current and Future Trends conference at the Hebrew University on 25 October.

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