Printing Food to Mitigate Climate Change

The convergence of two technologies is making it possible to free up millions of hectares of agricultural land devoted to livestock. A combination of culturing cells and 3D printing of all types of meat is likely to change land use and the diet of hundreds of millions of people around the world. It could provide reliable food sources even in the face of floods, drought and other environmental catastrophes.

I’m not a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) afficionado. But imagine if KFC were to produce its chicken nuggets from stem cells and 3D-printing plants. In 2020 the news wires lit up with stories of a Moscow, Russia, research laboratory under contract to the fried chicken restaurant chain to produce 3D-printed chicken nuggets.

For KFC the announcement could be seen as a public relations coup since the company is often the target of animal rights advocacy groups. KFC is truly a global enterprise, found in 145 countries at 24,000 individual locations. According to PETA, an organization focused on the ethical treatment of animals, 9 billion chickens raised on factory farms are slaughtered for their meat in the U.S. every year. A good percentage of that number go to fast-food chains like KFC.

That’s why KFC sees the growing of meat harvested from cell-cultures as a way out of the ethical dilemma. A future where the restauranteur can say “no chickens were killed here” would be a welcome mantra with other potential benefits to the global enivronment.

This is cellular agriculture. Its products are called cultured meat. The source of cultured meat is animal stem cells harvested from subject hosts that are not slaughtered. Once ideal chicken, pig, sheep, cattle, etc., candidates are identified, stem cells are harvested and then using electronic, chemical and biological culturing cultivated to create vast populations of cells of various tissue types from muscle to fat.

Turning stem cells from host animals into chicken pieces, beef steaks, pork and lamb chops, and other cuts of meat requires scaffoldings of bio-absorbable materials which form a framework for 3D printers to apply these cells as “ink” to create finished cuts. Getting the balance of fat to protein to give the 3D-printed meat the same look, texture, and taste is a challenge that the technology in time can meet. The company KFC has produced plant-based “chicken” nuggets and tried them on customers in the United States using Beyond Meatschicken products.

KFC Singapore has announced that it has debuted its first-ever meat-free alternative product called Zero Chicken Burger. It will be available for consumers at all KFC Singapore restaurants except the outlets at Singapore Polytechnic and Singapore Zoo.

Claiming to have a similar taste to that of chicken, the poultry-free Zero Chicken Burger showcases a mycoprotein meat-free patty made with Colonel Sandersoriginal recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Mycoprotein is a protein derived from fungi popularised by Quorn for its meat-like texture. The burger preparation also includes lettuce and sliced cheese topped with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce making the sesame bun burger unsuitable for vegans.

Source: https://stem-cells.in-the.news/
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https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/

How To Connect Neurons To Electrodes Using 3D Printing

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method of 3D-printing gels and other soft materials. Published in a new paper, it has the potential to create complex structures with nanometer-scale precision. Because many gels are compatible with living cells, the new method could jump-start the production of soft tiny medical devices such as drug delivery systems or flexible electrodes that can be inserted into the human body.

A standard 3D printer makes solid structures by creating sheets of material — typically plastic or rubber — and building them up layer by layer, like a lasagna, until the entire object is created.

Using a 3D printer to fabricate an object made of gel is a “bit more of a delicate cooking process,” said NIST researcher Andrei Kolmakov. In the standard method, the 3D printer chamber is filled with a soup of long-chain polymers — long groups of molecules bonded togetherdissolved in water. Then “spices” are added — special molecules that are sensitive to light. When light from the 3D printer activates those special molecules, they stitch together the chains of polymers so that they form a fluffy weblike structure. This scaffolding, still surrounded by liquid water, is the gel.

Biocompatible interface shows that hydrogels (green tubing), which can be generated by an electron or X-ray beam 3D printing process, act as artificial synapses or junctions, connecting neurons (brown) to electrodes (yellow)

Typically, modern 3D gel printers have used ultraviolet or visible laser light to initiate formation of the gel scaffolding. However, Kolmakov and his colleagues have focused their attention on a different 3D-printing technique to fabricate gels, using beams of electrons or X-rays. Because these types of radiation have a higher energy, or shorter wavelength, than ultraviolet and visible light, these beams can be more tightly focused and therefore produce gels with finer structural detail. Such detail is exactly what is needed for tissue engineering and many other medical and biological applications. Electrons and X-rays offer a second advantage: They do not require a special set of molecules to initiate the formation of gels.

But at present, the sources of this tightly focused, short-wavelength radiation — scanning electron microscopes and X-ray microscopes — can only operate in a vacuum. That’s a problem because in a vacuum the liquid in each chamber evaporates instead of forming a gel.

Kolmakov and his colleagues at NIST and at the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste in Italy, solved the issue and demonstrated 3D gel printing in liquids by placing an ultrathin barrier — a thin sheet of silicon nitridebetween the vacuum and the liquid chamber. The thin sheet protects the liquid from evaporating (as it would ordinarily do in vacuum) but allows X-rays and electrons to penetrate into the liquid. The method enabled the team to use the 3D-printing approach to create gels with structures as small as 100 nanometers (nm) — about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. By refining their method, the researchers expect to imprint structures on the gels as small as 50 nm, the size of a small virus.

Source: https://www.nist.gov/

How To Print Crowns And Bridges, Surgical Guides For Dental Implant

Back at CES this year, we talked with 3D-printer maker Formlabs about its early experimentation in using its printers to make dentures faster and more affordably than existing alternatives. A few months later, the company is going deep on the concept. They’re releasing a 3D printer meant specifically for dental use, opening up a whole new wing called “Formlabs Dental” and acquiring their main resin supplier in order to better make materials for the dental industry.

Unfamiliar with Formlabs? The main thing to know is that their printers use Stereolithography (SLA) rather than the Fused Deposition Modeling (or FDM) that most people probably think of when it comes to 3D printing; in other words, they use carefully aimed UV lasers to precisely harden an otherwise goopy resin into whatever you want to print, whereas FDM printers heat up a solid material until it’s malleable and then push it through a hot glue gun-style nozzle to build a model layer by layer. SLA tends to offer higher accuracy and resolution, whereas FDM tends to be cheaper and offer a wider variety of colors and material properties.

Formlabs calls its new dentistry-centric printer the “Form 3b” — which, as the name suggests, is a slight variation on the Form 3 printer the company introduced earlier this year. The base package costs about a thousand bucks more per unit over the non-dental Form 3, but comes with software meant to tie into a dental team’s existing workflow, along with a year of Formlab’s “Dental Service Plan,” which includes training, support and the ability to request a new printer if something needs repairing (rather than waiting for yours to get shipped back and forth). The company also says the 3b has been optimized to work with its dental resins, but doesn’t say much about how.

Speaking of resins: Formlabs is acquiring Spectra, which has been its primary supplier of resins since Formlabs started back in 2012. While the company isn’t disclosing any of the terms of the deal, it does say it has put over a million dollars into building an FDA-registered clean room to make medical-grade resins. Formlabs says that anyone who already buys materials and resin from Spectra can continue to do so.

The company’s new “Formlabs Dental” division, meanwhile, will focus on figuring out new dental materials and ways to better tie in to existing dentist office workflows. Right now, the company says, the Form 3b can be used to print crowns and bridges, clear retainers, surgical guides to help during dental implant procedures, custom mouth guards (or “occlusal splints”) and dentures.

Source: https://formlabs.com/
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https://techcrunch.com/

How To Produce Entire Homes With A 3D Printer

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can fit comfortably on the side of your desk and bust out small home-printed objects, then Danish company Cobod Internationals new 3D printer definitely isn’t for you. Roughly the size of a small barn, the BOD2 is the world’s largest 3D printer designed for construction purposes. It is capable of printing entire buildings up to 40 feet wide, 90 feet long and 30 feet tall. In other words, if you’re only looking to print out a DIY fidget spinner, you’re going to want to search elsewhere.

Our second-generation 3D construction printer, BOD2, is special in the way that it has a modular frame which gives the opportunity for our customers to choose the size of printer that fits their specific purpose,” said Asger Dath, communications manager for Cobod, “Furthermore, it is currently the fastest-printing construction printer on the market. With the tangential controlled print head, together with our customizable nozzle system, our customers are able to print different wall surfaces, especially very smooth wall surfaces.”

The printer functions in a very similar way  to a standard FDM (fused filament fabrication) printer. It is fed with concrete, which is then extruded using a motor in the print head. This concrete material is fed into the printer as a dry mix, prior to being mixed by a pump and then traveling through a tube to the print head to be expelled.

We decided to develop the BOD2 after we found a great interest from the construction industry after we 3D printed the first building in Europe,” Dath said. “The many requests we got had all different purposes and therefore the sizes differed a great deal. [This] led to the idea of developing a modular construction printer that could meet the needs of all the requested sizes, instead of developing a printer in one or two sizes.”

The BOD2 printer was recently purchased by the construction company Elite for Construction & Development Co., with the express purpose of creating 3D printed private homes in Saudi Arabia. This is going to be a big job. In all, Saudi Arabia aims to build 1.5 million private houses over the next decade. While not all of those will necessarily be 3D printed, a tool such as this could certainly help save on both time and money.

Source: https://cobod.com/
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https://www.digitaltrends.com/

3D printing becoming a surgical game changer

Imagine 1,000 puzzle pieces without any picture of what it’s ultimately supposed to look like. With few, if any, reference points, the challenge of fitting them together would be daunting. That’s what surgeons often confront when a patient suffering from a traumatic injury or condition has a portion of their body that is dramatically damaged or changed. The “puzzle” can be exponentially harder when the injuries involve a person’s face or skull – areas of the human anatomy that are complex, difficult to surgically navigate, and often require both functional and near-perfect cosmetic repair.

Now, thanks to high-tech equipment that is sometimes not much bigger than a home printer, UC Davis Health physicians are enhancing their capabilities and mapping out surgeries in ways that benefit patients and surgical outcomes.

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3D printing, which for us means manufacturing that’s accurate, affordable and on-site, can be a game changer in health care,” said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health, who is very encouraged by the university’s newest technology initiatives and promising results.

The new device is a specialized but fairly affordable printer that produces three-dimensional models of an individual’s skull or body part. The 3D models enable a surgeon to visualize, practice and then perform the reconstructive surgery while saving time and increasing precision.

Facial reconstructive surgery involves intricate anatomy within an extremely narrow operative field in which to maneuver our instruments,” said E. Bradley Strong, a professor of otolaryngology who specializes in facial reconstructive surgery. “Being able to print out a high-resolution 3D model of the injury, allows us to do detailed preoperative planning and preparation that is more efficient and accurate. We can also use these patient specific models in the operating room to improve the accuracy of implant placement.”

The 3D printer used by Strong and his colleagues for the past year is about the size of a mini-refrigerator and costs approximately $4,000. It uses the imaging data from a patient’s computed tomography (CT) scans to provide the modeling output information. Like an inkjet printer, the 3D version spits out layer upon layer of material over a period of hours, sometimes taking nearly a day to complete, depending on the complexity of the model. The finished replica can save time during surgery, which means less time on the operating table for a patient and potentially a better outcome.

By creating a 3D model prior to surgery, Strong is able to bend and customize generic surgical plates into patient-specific shapes that fit perfectly for each individual patient.

Source: https://health.ucdavis.edu/

3D-Printed On-Demand Drugs

A pharmaceutical scientist at the University of Sussex has published a guide to 3D and 4D printing technology in the biomedical and pharmaceutical arenas. Dr Mohammed Maniruzzaman, a lecturer in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, edited 3D and 4D Printing in Biomedical Applications: Process Engineering and Additive Manufacturing’. He also authored sections of the book, alongside an international panel of academic scholars and industry experts. The book, written for pharmaceutical chemists, medicinal chemists, biotechnologists and pharma engineers, covers the key aspects of the printing of medical and pharmaceutical products and the challenges and advances associated with their development. It explores the process optimization, innovation process, engineering and technology behind printed medicine and provides information on biomedical developments such as shape memory polymers, 4D bio-fabrications and bone printing.

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There are numerous potential applications of this emerging technology. In the future we predict doctors would be able to send a 3D prescription to a Pharmacy, via e-mail or a shared server, and the Pharmacists would then be able to print the required dosage via a 3D printer placed right at the dispensing counter- at the point of need, eliminating the need for paper-based prescriptions. Similarly, we are not far off from when patients would be able to print their own medication on demand by using their small printing unit right at the kitchen or bedside”, explains Dr Maniruzzaman.

Another example can be that a 3D printer or bio-printer placed right by the operation bed in the operation theatre can print the medical implants required for that patient lying on the bed just right at the point of care. The dimensions and geometry of the implants can be tailored specifically for that patient saving both time and cost for manufacturing. Above all, this would enhance the patient compliance significantly,” he adds.

3D printing has appeared as one of the most promising additive manufacturing techniques across many industries, now including the medical and pharmaceutical arenas. 4D printing is an emerging technology that, simply put, refers to a printed object that transforms over time. It is envisaged this technology will revolutionize biomedical developments.

Source: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/