Shape transformation of 4D printed edible insects triggered by thermal dehydration

Journal of Food Engineering 2023 Volume 358, Article 111666

Insect-based food was fabricated by 3D printing of edible insect inks (cricket; CK or silkworm; SW) aiming to produce an alternative and sustainable food with high protein for a variety of consumers. CK and SW of 30% (w/v) together with 5%(w/v) sodium alginate can be 3D-printed into several designed geometries with fine resolution. 4D shape transformation as triggered by thermal stimuli at 80 °C of the printed insect-based objects was found to be varied with infill angle and infill pattern. The ability to form the CK/SW bilayer structure of which shape transformation upon thermal dehydration was similar to that of the structure of a single component suggesting that the culinary applications of the developed edible insect inks can be extended to other 4D-printed multi-nutrient structures. Analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry verified that main components of all 4D-printed insect-based constructs were preserved with diminished nutty-like odor verifying that 3D-printing and heating are non-destructive.