Have you seen 3D printed fake Chinese herb before? Other food such as burgers and pizzas can be printed too

Image credit : MingPao

Cordyceps, a caterpillar fungus is found to be used as high medicinal value by the people around the world. Cordyceps Sinensis is a dead remain of Himalayan Ghost moth belonging to a species Hepialis aromoricanus, also called as bat moth.

It is considered to have high medicinal value and used to treat  disease like cancer, diabetes, pulmonarydiseases, cardiovascular disorder, sexual dysfunction, renal disease and many other diseases for centuries in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Bhutanese Indigenous Medicine.

Fake Cordyceps has been found recently in the market and shockingly they are printed in 3D and sprayed with the chemical scent to smell like the original Cordyceps.

“This is a fake, printed in 3D,” said He Fayi, a visiting associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Apparently Cordyceps sinensis is not the only fake Chinese herbal medicines discovered. You can’t really tell the difference with naked eyes and it is often necessary to combine “microscopic” and “physical and chemical” identification to determine the authenticity. It is difficult for ordinary people to distinguish because of its similar appearance and characteristics.

Cordyceps sinensis is otherwise known as “soft gold”, which can cost more than 20,000 renminbi per gram. Fake cordyceps are commonly made of flour and they tend to flake easily and some even inserted lead wire into it to increase the weight. However, many retailers now use metal detectors to check for irregularities. Ascomycotion, another herb that looks very similar to Cordyceps sinensis but costs a lot less is also commonly used by frausters to scam unsuspected consumers.

Edible 3D printed hamburgers and pizza

As 3D printing technology matures, it is used in many fields, such as complex parts, industrial molds, prosthetics, human tissues, clothing, jewelry, and even food.

The technology uses edible materials such as pastry to print out hamburgers, pancakes, spaghetti, chocolate, cakes and cookies.

Hu Jintian, associate professor of engineering education at the Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said, “Most food printers use FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology. The principle is to use high-temperature melting materials to solidify after extrusion through a nozzle. Ingredients such as batter, cheese, meat sauce, etc. are loaded into the food tube of the printer and the nozzle will print the paste layer by layer. It does need to be cooked before it can be eaten.”

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3D printed food is convenient and creative, and the food content can be printed as needed to reduce the waste.