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Electrochemical tongue


Key words electrochemistry, electrochemical, voltammetry, analytical chemistry, taste, PCA, discrimination, classification, Identification, sensor array, biosensor, amperometry, multicomponent analysis
Latest version 2010/12/08
Completed by KU Leuven LFT

How does it work?

Primary objective Analytical tool
Working principle The principle behind the electrochemical tongue is based on chemical reactions taking place in a solution at the interface of an electron conductor (a metal or a semiconductor) and an ionic conductor (the electrolyte), and which involve electron transfer between the electrode and the electrolyte or species in solution.

An electrochemical tongue consists of an array of voltammetric or amperometric sensors. These sensors are in contact with the electroactive analyte and after applying a varying or constant potential, respectively, to the working electrode the resulting current is measured. Using an array of sensors working at different potentials, and combining multivariate signals with pattern recognition routines, it is possible to resolve between different electroactive compounds. Although the specificity of each individual sensor is low, the combination of several selectivity classes entails a very large information potential.

Additional effects Not applicable, as this is a non-destructive technique
Important process parameters
Important product parameters pH, ionic strength and electrochemical activity of solvent and analyte (and possible presence of electroactive impurities)

What can it be used for?

Products Liquid products
  • Classification/discrimination of tea (3), wines (4,10,14,15), milk (5), oils, honey (13), beer (11) …
  • Determination of end of dishing and cleaning process (detergent detection)
  • Detection of microbial growth
Solutions for short comings
  • better analysis and controls of suppliers and raw materials
  • checking raw materials
  • attests for coffee

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Solid product, unless it can be completely dissolved
Operations No restrictions
Other limitations
  • Electrodes need to be cleaned or need to be self-cleaning
  • Complicated data analysis
Risks or hazards No information


Maturity Pilot scale
Modularity /Implementation Can be inserted in a process line.
Consumer aspects No information – no problems expected
Legal aspects No information – no problems expected
Environmental aspects No information – no problems expected

Further Information

Institutes DiCTFA, CSIC - IATA, Masaryk University Biochemistry, UNIMORE DipSAA
Companies Alpha M.O.S.
References 1. Dias, L.A. et al. (2008) An electronic tongue for honey classification. Microchimica Acta 163, 97-102.

2. Gil, L. et al. (2008) An electronic tongue for fish freshness analysis using a thick-film array of electrodes. Microchimica Acta 163, 121-129.

3. He, W. et al. (2009) Evaluation of Chinese tea by the electronic tongue: Correlation with sensory properties and classification according to geographical origin and grade level. Food Research International 42, 1462-1467.

4. Hong, M. et al. (2008) Application of neural networks to identify wine based on electronic tongue. 2008 Pacific-Asia Workshop on Computational Intelligence and Industrial Application.PACIIA 2008896-900.

5. Oliveri, P. et al. (2009) Development of a voltammetric electronic tongue for discrimination of edible oils. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 395, 1135-1143.

6. Paixao, T. & Bertotti, M. (2009) Fabrication of disposable voltammetric electronic tongues by using Prussian Blue films electrodeposited onto CD-R gold surfaces and recognition of milk adulteration. Sensors and Actuators: B Chemical266-273.

7. Pigani, L. et al. (2009) Classification of red wines by chemometric analysis of voltammetric signals from PEDOT-modified electrodes. Analytica Chimica Acta 643, 67-73.

8. Pioggia, G. et al. (2008) Characterization of a carbon nanotube polymer composite sensor for an impedimetric electronic tongue. Microchimica Acta 163, 57-62.

9. Rodriguez-Mendez, M.L. et al. (2008) Electronic tongue based on voltammetric electrodes modified with materials showing complementary electroactive properties. Applications. Microchimica Acta 163, 23-31.

10. Rudnitskaya, A. et al. (2009) Study of the influence of micro-oxygenation and oak chip maceration on wine composition using an electronic tongue and chemical analysis. Analytica Chimica Acta 642, 235-245.

11. Rudnitskaya, A. et al. (2009) Instrumental measurement of beer taste attributes using an electronic tongue.
Analytica Chimica Acta 646, 111-118.

12. Scampicchio, M. et al. (2008) Amperometric electronic tongue for food analysis. Microchimica Acta 163, 11-21.

13. Wei, Z.B. et al. (2009) Technique potential for classification of honey by electronic tongue. Journal of Food Engineering 94, 260-266.

14. Zeravik, J. et al. (2009) State of the Art in the Field of Electronic and Bioelectronic Tongues - Towards the Analysis of Wines. Electroanalysis 21, 2509-2520.

15. Zhenbo, W. et al. (2009) Technique potential for classification of honey by electronic tongue. Journal of Food Engineering260-266.

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Created by LiesbethV on 28 January 2011, at 03:00