Researchers have created a 3D printed vegan calamari ring high in protein and tastes like real. Scientists are working hard to develop this tasty and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional seafood as growing worries over unsustainable fishing tactics and their environmental impact prompt them to improve their game.
The meat substitute section of the fridge at the supermarket may be stocked to the brim, but there is still a shortage of plant-based seafood options.
Overfishing, pollution fears, and ethical concerns have all contributed to a growing desire for seafood substitutes that may please taste buds without compromising ocean health.
A group from the National University of Singapore has reportedly seized the reins, demonstrating their novel method to developing tempting vegan seafood that not only tastes excellent but also replicates the nutritional profile of genuine fish, as reported in a news release.
Imitation crabmeat, for example, is often created from white fish that has been chopped and molded. It has been more difficult to develop a plant-based substitute for seafood that is both nutritious and tastes and feels authentic.
While Dejian Huang, the 3D printed vegan study’s principal author, acknowledges that “plant-based seafood mimics are out there,” he notes that the components rarely offer protein. “Our goal was to develop protein-based products that are as healthy as or healthier than traditional seafood.”
Using a protein-based ink and a food-grade 3D printer, the researchers have previously 3D printed vegan salmon filets with a flakier and more realistic texture.
The Science Behind 3D Printed Vegan Calamari Rings
Fish flesh contains diverse textures, aromas, and nutritional value, making it difficult to create convincing plant-based seafood. But Dejian Huang and his National University of Singapore team think they have found the key to success by mixing state-of-the-art technology with proteins derived from plants.
There are vegan alternatives to seafood, however they often don’t include any protein. According to Huang, the study’s primary investigator, “we wanted to make protein-based products that nutritionally equivalent to or better than real seafood and addressed sustainability.”
Using a 3D printer designed for edible materials like the 3D printed vegan, the researchers created a protein-based ink composed of microalgae and mung bean proteins. Thanks to this breakthrough ink, they can handle sustainability issues while replicating the appealing textures of fish flesh. The team has succeeded in layering the protein-based ink used to create 3D printed vegan to simulate the flaky, chewy, and greasy textures that seafood lovers love.
The team’s most recent accomplishment is the 3D printing of a proof of concept: plant-based calamari rings. They developed a high-protein vegan paste that mimics the nutritional profile of conventional calamari by combining the protein from microalgae and mung beans.
By using 3D printing technology to produce 3D printed vegan, we can create a product with the appropriate textures and give it form and visual appeal. These plant-based seafood substitutes have a wide range of possible uses, from accommodating specific diets to combating allergens.
The researchers are hopeful about the product’s commercial potential, despite the fact that additional work needs to be done to improve its texture and qualities.
“The goal is to get the same texture and elastic properties as the calamari rings that are commercially available,” explained Vijayan. As of right now, “I’m still seeing how the composition impacts the product’s elasticity and the final sensory properties.”
Microalgae and mung beans are being tested to ensure they won’t trigger an allergic reaction in those sensitive to shellfish. According to Huang, there aren’t a lot of people who have sensitivities to mung bean or microalgae proteins. However, “it’s still a new combination, so we don’t know” for sure just yet.
The team’s ultimate goal is to create many 3D printed vegan seafood prototypes and evaluate their viability for industrial-scale production. However, they are pleased with their work for the time being.
“I think people will like our plant-based mimic,” Vijayan added. It tastes like fish but is made entirely of sustainable plant-based ingredients for novelty’s sake.
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