Consuming less meat can help to promote both animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Many current meat alternatives rely on plant-based proteins, commonly from soy and wheat, which can mimic the texture and nutritional value of meat. Often, extrusion technology is used to create meat-like products. While 3D printing has been tested for the production of meat alternatives, none of the current formulations include a combination of soy protein- and wheat gluten-based materials.
Songbai Liu and Shanshan Wang, Zhejiang University, Ningbo, China, have developed a formulation for a meat-alternative “dough” with soy and wheat protein that can be shaped using a 3D printer. The team tested soy and wheat proteins in formulations containing several other ingredients. They evaluated the accuracy with which the “dough” could be printed, how well it held its form, as well as the resulting texture and microstructure.
The researchers found that cocoa butter can be used to promote the formability of 3D printing gel materials. The heat-sensitive cocoa butter makes the dough more fluid at higher temperatures for printing. It then hardens at room temperature, allowing the dough to retain its printed shape. The team found that additional ingredients such as starch, the emulsifier Tween-80, and sodium alginate were important for the printing performance and texture, while shiitake mushroom powder was used to provide taste. According to the team, the developed strategy could be useful for formulating materials for 3D printing.
- 3D Printing of Soy Protein- and Gluten-Based Gels Facilitated by Thermosensitive Cocoa Butter in a Model Study,
Shanshan Wang, Songbai Liu,
ACS Food Sci. Technol. 2021.