Printability and Physicochemical Properties of Microalgae-Enriched 3D-Printed Snacks

Uribe-Wandurraga, Z.N.; Zhang, L.; Noort, M.W.J.; Schutyser, M.A.I.; García-Segovia, Purificación; Martínez-Monzó, Javier


Microalgal biomass is a promising functional ingredient for innovative food products due to its potential health benefits given by its composition (protein, minerals, vitamins, pigments, fatty acids, sterol and antioxidants). However, in practice, the level of incorporation of microalgae in many products is limited due to among others the strong green colour. In this study, we investigated the potential of 3D food printing to incorporate microalgae in cereal snacks. Chlorella vulgaris and Arthrospira platensis were the microalgae evaluated. First, the effect of microalgae fortification on both the rheological properties and printability of batters and on the properties of snacks (i.e. shape, texture and colour) was studied. Microalgae fortification improved the printability of batters using extrusion-based 3D printing, which was concluded from the increased extrusion force and shear modulus in comparison to those for the batter without microalgae. Subsequently, snacks enriched with 3% and 4% Chlorella provided most accurate printed structures. However, snacks with the latter levels of microalgae addition are probably not well accepted by consumers due to the strong green and dark colour of the cereal snacks after baking. The next logical step could be to use coaxial food printing to hide the microalgae inside the snack. First coaxial printing experiments showed that this could be a feasible approach.