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Biozoon, a company from Germany, has been working on a 3-D printed food extruder that allows them to create dishes that are mouth-watering. They say that the food produced by the seneoPro printer melts in the mouth and is suitable for elderly patients who are suffering from dysphagia; a condition where people cannot swallow solid foods without difficulty.
[Image Source: 3D Print]
It has been said that around 1 in every 5 people who are over the age of fifty suffer from dysphagia. This is an illness that affects the larynx of the person and means that it doesn’t close properly. This can often end up with food in the lungs, as opposed to the stomach, and this can often be the cause of renal failure or in some cases death. As many as 60% of residents living in nursing homes suffer from the illness and this leads to them having to eat foods that are almost liquid. It can be upsetting when at the table there is one person tucking into a normal appetising meal while another has to drink their dinner.
3-D printed food could be the answer to this as it would offer food that appear normal but which is softer and dissolves faster. To create food the company make use of molecular gastronomy. This means that food can be printed out using a printer which is standard extruder based. The food is printed out and it then turns to edible solids and at the same time the food is able to dissolve quickly in the mouth.
Biozoon said that the product can be extruded and moulded in a lot of different ways. They are even able to add in colouring along with texture and this makes the food that is printed out look like the real thing and even taste like it. The company website states:
“The powder mixtures of seneoPro series enable universal implementation so that both family caregivers and professional cooks and nurses can easily make the new diets. Appetizers, main dishes, desserts and snacks can now custom fit, balanced and also be made visually appealing above all things. A food with all your senses, pleasure and enjoyment is possible again; a structured daily functioning can be restored.”
Biozoon are aiming to get the seneoPro out into the market sometime later this year. Whilst 3-D printing food often receives bad press for its 'pointlessness', this target of approach and benefits for both physical and mental health of disabled and elderly people offers a promising new outlook.