Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #265379

Title: Electronic noses and tongues: Applications for the food and pharmaceutical industries

item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz
item Bai, Jinhe
item Plotto, Anne
item Dea, Sharon

Submitted to: Sensors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2011
Publication Date: 5/2/2011
Citation: Baldwin, E.A., Bai, J., Plotto, A., Dea, S. 2011. Electronic noses and tongues: Applications for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Sensors. 11:4744-4766.

Interpretive Summary: Electronic nose, tongue and eye instruments aim to mimic the human senses. These instruments can be used to measure odors, tastes and visual cues. They send signals to a computer, where our nerve endings send signals to our brains. Our brains interpret the signals to find a judgment or classification about a flavor. In the case of the enose, etongue and e-eye, the computer receives the pattern of signals from the instrument sensors and interprets the data through pattern recognition software and determines if samples are different or not and how to predict unknown samples. These instruments can be trained by relating their response to human sensory data. The review summarizes the latest literature on potential use of these instruments in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Technical Abstract: The electronic nose (enose) is designed to crudely mimic the human brain in that most contain sensors that non-selectively interact with odor molecules to produce some sort of signal that is then sent to a computer that uses multivariate statistics to determine patterns in the data. This pattern recognition is then used to determine that one sample is similar or different from another based on headspace volatiles. There are different types of sensors including organic polymers, metal oxides, quartz crystal microbalance and even gas-chromatography (GC) or combined with mass spectroscopy (MS) can be used in a non-selective manner using chemical mass or patterns from a short GC column) as an enose. The electronic tongue reacts similarly to non-volatile compounds in a liquid. This review will concentrate on applications for enose and etongue technology for edible products.