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'Electronic tongue' developed to analyze fruit


July 19, 2011

Spanish researchers have developed an 'electronic tongue' for analyzing the content of ant...

Spanish researchers have developed an 'electronic tongue' for analyzing the content of antioxidant powders, along with fruit and fruit products (Photo: UPV)

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Not to be confused with the bizarre robotic tongue prototype, "electronic tongues" have been in use for the past several years, for assessing the content of various foods and beverages - and no, unfortunately they don't look like actual tongues. While past examples have been used for purposes such as identifying the vintage and grape variety of wines, researchers from Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have recently developed one that analyzes the content of antioxidant powder, along with fruit and fruit products.

The system consists of electronic measuring equipment, linked to a PC running custom software. Fruit, juice or antioxidant samples are subjected to an electrical current. Their response is measured via voltammetry, in which the current is measured as the potential is varied, and dielectric spectroscopy, in which a material's impedance is measured over a variety of frequencies.

Researchers from Spain's Universitat Politecnica de Valencia  have developed an 'electroni...

The tongue has so far been successful in measuring the antioxidant content in solutions including citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and malic acid, along with binary mixtures of those substances. The UPV team are now looking into using it to measure vitamin C degradation in juices, particularly orange juice.

It's possible that the technology could also be used to detect residual glyphosate, which is a weed killer that is often used on fruit and vegetable crops. Another application could involve the monitoring of water quality in sewage plants.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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