July 9, 2013
Astronauts headed for outer space might be bringing mechanical chefs along, in the form of 3D printers capable of printing food, from efforts by scientists at Cornell University. Gel-like substances called hydrocolloids, altered with varying flavoring agents, are producing foods with different tastes and textures when printed. This could eliminate waste and the space occupied, by pre-packaged food containers.
Success in printing fake bananas, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese that look and taste like the real thing, the Cornell team has already achieved, but some still feel that from-scratch meals of steak and potatoes “are still 15 to 20 years or more in the future.” Still, at this stage, they find food items like frosting and cheese simpler to produce than fruits, veggies and meats, but they are on the right track.
Printing food and nutrients
Michelle Terfansky, an engineer from University of Southern California, who, for her master’s thesis, studied the world of 3D printed food for use in space, feels that within five to 10 years, we’ll be a lot closer to seeing more 3D printed foods looking and tasting as they should.
Thinking of the home sick space travelers, this idea can provide the opportunity for “a family member back on Earth be able to design a special meal for an astronaut, beam it to their spaceship, and have it prepared in space.” More than that, this could break the monotony of the standard food options available to astronauts, and nutrition will not be compromised. The 3D machine could print vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients into the food to help increase energy and “boost productivity.”
Growing a salad during a Mars mission is doable, with the best crops being lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes, but rather than pre-package the croutons to top the salad, they can be printed instead.
The future kitchen with 3D food printing
Members of the Cornell team see the future kitchen in the average home having some form of 3D food printing machine simple enough for a child to operate. Having pre-programmed buttons, perhaps one labelled “guacamole” and the other “hummus” that when pressed, will print the family members favorite dip for their printed carrots and celery. Then perhaps, a service provider like Netflix will include in their streaming data packages a streaming recipe feed, with exclusive recipes that Google and Apple 3D food printers don’t have the same rights to.
I know that my 3D food printing device will have Russell James and Amber Shea streaming recipe subscriptions on it.
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About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.
This article was posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 4:02 am