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Spanish Researchers Develop Portable 'Electronic Nose'

Apr. 2, 2012
Julie Butler

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Spanish researchers have devel­oped a cheap, portable elec­tronic nose’ they say has great promise for use in organolep­tic test­ing and food qual­ity con­trol.

While so-called e‑noses them­selves are not new, the University of Extremadura Sensory Systems Research Group says its sys­tem reduces the time and cost of test­ing.

In a recent press release, researcher Jesus Lozano said that the new sys­tem — which mim­ics the human nose — could not only deliver quan­ti­ta­tive results in a minute, it cost ten times less than exist­ing meth­ods to set up.

The dis­ad­van­tage of this portable device…is that, as with the mam­malian sense of smell, the elec­tronic nose’ needs to be sen­si­tized with known sam­ples, and the more tests it does the more accu­rate its results,” he said.

Apart from use in water analy­sis, the sys­tem would be very use­ful for qual­ity con­trol in the food indus­try, the eval­u­a­tion of the organolep­tic prop­er­ties of wine, detec­tion of explo­sives and dis­eases, and the devel­op­ment of fra­grances and cos­met­ics, the uni­ver­sity said.

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Hugo Regojo, gen­eral man­ager of the Bogaris olive oil group in the U.S., recently called for the olive oil sec­tor to har­ness such tech­nol­ogy. At the Olive Oil Flavor and Quality Seminar held in St. Helena in January, he said there was a need to improve the elec­tronic nose, and elec­tronic detec­tion of sen­sory defects in oil tech­nol­ogy, to con­trol fraud in the indus­try.”

The International Olive Council is cur­rently review­ing new and exist­ing meth­ods of analy­sis designed to improve the qual­ity and authen­tic­ity of olive oils and olive pomace oils but has yet to make details pub­lic.

IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol said last week that there was no prospect of it aban­don­ing the use of sen­sory pan­els in deter­min­ing olive oil qual­ity. We think very highly of our sen­sory test­ing method…and we con­sider it to be an essen­tial qual­ity cri­te­rion,” he said.



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