Could the 3D Printing Technology be a Useful Strategy to Obtain Customized Nutrition?

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Within the concept of personalized nutrition we want to introduce the terms of “customized food formula” which refers to the preparation (at home) or the production (at industrial level) of new food formulations having nutrients and functional compounds necessary to prevent diseases or to reduce the risk for each subject (or subjects category) who exhibit a susceptibility to diseases. Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a group of technologies of growing interest able to produce, slice by slice, materials with any desired shape, dimension, and structure properties. The application of 3D printing in food science, as called “3D food printing,” is a pioneering technology that could allow to build personalized foods by depositing nutrients and functional compounds or soft-materials obtained by their mixture. Also by 3D food printing it is expected to obtain personalized food formula having desired shape, dimension, and microstructure. This would be useful for people having swallowing problems. In this paper we analyzed the first examples of 3D food printing available in literature as well as we reported our results focused on the production of 3D printed wheat-based snacks enriched with insect powder (Tenebrio molitor) with the aim to improve the quality and the content of proteins.

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