Electronic Tongue Accurately Distinguishes Lager Beers

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Sensory robots may be the answer the food industry’s quality challenges

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

An electronic tongue can identify different types of lager beer.

Beer companies may want to take note of an electronic tongue that was invented to accurately identify four different styles of lager beer, according to Science 2.0.

This electronic tasting device was created at the University of Valladolid in Spain by María Luz Rodríguez-Méndez, a professor of inorganic chemistry, and a group of colleagues to improve quality control in the food industry. However, “Humans are still better,” Méndez says. “At least for now, they are far from being replaced.”

With the ability to distinguish between the different concentrations of polyphenols, the electronic tongue can pick up on ingredients, such as barley and hops, which could be helpful if you need help ordering beer. The lager styles tested included non-alcoholic, pilsners, doppelbock, and European strong lager. 

Just like a human tongue, this electronic tongue uses sensors to transmit signals that analyze taste. The sensors create electrical patterns to differentiate flavors. It is portable, with four electrodes made of varying materials. "These systems are complicated and though they are improving little by little... they are still very far from human senses," Méndez says.

Electronic tongues may very well be the answer to quality control in the food industry, and, if mass-produced, beer companies and consumers could be assured that the beer they are drinking is made right every time. 

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