Meat alternatives are rapidly diversifying, with Chinese food scientists exploring new blends of plant ingredients designed for 3D printing. In a study published in ACS Food Science and Technologysome of their most successful recipes call for a heat-sensitive ingredient to enhance the fluidity: cocoa butter.
Researchers Songbai Liu and Shanshan Wang tested proteins from soy and wheat into formulations containing various other ingredients using a 3D printer. They set out to find a method for making meat “dough” from these mixtures that could be efficiently produced by machine.
3D printed meat
3D printing expands your offer possibilities texturing in meat alternatives, like Redefine Meat’s whole, stringy cuts of plant-based meat designed to “bleed” authentically. The researchers evaluated their mixtures based on how accurately the printer could place the dough and how well it held its shape. They also examined its texture and microstructure.
Adding the right amounts of cocoa butter, Tween-80 and sodium alginate and Tween-80, an emulsifier also known as polysorbate 80, has proven to be key to achieving superior 3D printing performance.
The role of cocoa butter
The cocoa butter It turns out that heat sensitivity is an important ingredient, making the dough liquid at high temperatures for printing, but then solidifying at room temperature, allowing the dough to hold its printed shape. Research revealed that the interaction of hydrogen bonds between the soy protein and the gluten network helped to provide the essential fibrous architecture of the gels.
Recognizing that some consumers cannot eat wheat or soy gluten Due to allergies or celiac disease, researchers tried to replace soy protein with pea protein. However, the resulting pea protein-based dough was too soft to press and did not have the same structural integrity.
The authors of the study received funding from China’s National Key Research and Development ProgramZhejiang Public Welfare Technology Research Program, Qinghai Science and Technology Program, and Zhejiang University Fuli Institute of Food Science Foundation.
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