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'Magnetic tongue' ready to help produce tastier processed foods

Date:
October 27, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The "electronic nose," which detects odors, has a companion among emerging futuristic "e-sensing" devices intended to replace abilities that once were strictly human-and-animal-only. It is a "magnetic tongue" -- a method used to "taste" food and identify ingredients that people describe as sweet, bitter, sour, etc. Scientists report on use of the method to taste canned tomatoes.

The "electronic nose," which detects odors, has a companion among emerging futuristic "e-sensing" devices intended to replace abilities that once were strictly human-and-animal-only. It is a "magnetic tongue" -- a method used to "taste" food and identify ingredients that people describe as sweet, bitter, sour, etc. A report on use of the method to taste canned tomatoes appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Antonio Randazzo, Anders Malmendal, Ettore Novellino and colleagues explain that sensing the odor and flavor of food is a very complex process. It depends not only on the combination of ingredients in the food, but also on the taster's emotional state. Trained taste testers eliminate some of the variation, but food processors need more objective ways to measure the sensory descriptor of their products. That's where electronic sensing technologies, like E-noses, come into play.

However, current instruments can only analyze certain food components and require very specific sample preparation. To overcome these shortcomings, Randazzo and Malmendal's team turned to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to test its abilities as "a magnetic tongue."

The researchers analyzed 18 canned tomato products from various markets with NMR and found that the instrument could estimate most of the tastes assessed by the human taste testers. But the NMR instrument went even farther. By determining the chemical composition, it showed which compound is related to which sensory descriptor. The researchers say that the "magnetic tongue" has good potential as a rapid, sensitive and relatively inexpensive approach for food processing companies to use.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anders Malmendal, Claudia Amoresano, Roberta Trotta, Ilaria Lauri, Stefano De Tito, Ettore Novellino, Antonio Randazzo. NMR Spectrometers as “Magnetic Tongues”: Prediction of Sensory Descriptors in Canned Tomatoes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2011; 59 (20): 10831 DOI: 10.1021/jf203803q

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Magnetic tongue' ready to help produce tastier processed foods." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122416.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, October 27). 'Magnetic tongue' ready to help produce tastier processed foods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122416.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Magnetic tongue' ready to help produce tastier processed foods." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122416.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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