A magnetic tongue could help food processors tweak foods to enhance flavour
Denmark, Italy – Scientists in Denmark and Italy have created a device that they say can more objectively measure the flavours of food products.
The scientists from the University of Aarhus and University of Naples have developed a magnetic tongue that could replace human tasters and identify ingredients that people describe as sweet, bitter, sour, etc.
The scientists say sensing odour and flavour is a complex process, reports ScienceDaily.com. The process depends on the combination of ingredients in the foods and on the taster’s emotional state.
Tasters have been trained on how to eliminate certain variations, but food processors may need more objective ways to measure their food products.
ScienceDaily.com reports that current instruments can only analyze certain food components and require very specific sample preparation.
To overcome the shortcomings, the scientists turned to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to test its abilities as a “magnetic tongue.”
The scientists used the technology to analyze 18 canned tomato products from various markets and found that the instrument could estimate most of the tastes assessed by the human taste testers.
But the technology went even further. By determining the chemical composition, it showed which compound is related to which sensory descriptor.
The scientists say the magnetic tongue has good potential as a rapid, sensitive and relatively inexpensive approach for food processing companies to use, says ScienceDaily.com.