Washington: Spanish researchers have developed an electronic tongue that can distinguish between different varieties of beer.
The discovery is accurate in almost 82 percent of cases.
Beer is the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the world. Now, scientists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have led a study which analysed several brands of beer by applying a new concept in analysis systems, known as an electronic tongue, the idea for which is based on the human sense of taste .
As Manel del Valle, the main author of the study, explains to SINC: "The concept of the electronic tongue consists in using a generic array of sensors, in other words with generic response to the various chemical compounds involved, which generate a varied spectrum of information with advanced tools for processing, pattern recognition and even artificial neural networks."
In this case, the array of sensors was formed of 21 ion-selective electrodes, including some with response to cations (ammonium, sodium), others with response to anions (nitrate, chloride, etc.), as well as electrodes with generic (unspecified) response to the varieties considered.
The authors recorded the multidimensional response generated by the array of sensors and how this was influenced by the type of beer considered. An initial analysis enabled them to change coordinates to view the grouping better, although it was not effective for classifying the beers.
"Using more powerful tools - supervised learning - and linear discriminant analysis did enable us to distinguish between the main categories of beer we studied: Schwarzbier, lager, double malt, Pilsen, Alsatian and low-alcohol," Del Valle said, "and with a success rate of 81.9 percent."
The research is published in the journal `Food Chemistry`.