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Sensory Science: Electronic Noses

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Submitted By LynetteC88
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Describe and explain the working principle of electronic noses and their application in the food industry.

Analysis of odour and flavour in food has traditionally been performed either by a trained sensory panel or by head-space gas chromatography mass spectrometry. These methods are time consuming and costly and there is need in the food industry for objective automated non-destructive techniques that can characterize odour and flavour in food. New methods should allow a high number of samples to be analysed within a short period of time with a sufficient reproducibility and accuracy. During recent years there has been a rapid development of a concept named electronic nose (artificial nose) based on chemical gas-sensor array technology which seems to fulfil these requirements (Russell et al, 2001)
The principle of operation of electronic noses is simple. Headspace gas from a sample is introduced to an array of sensors, which will respond to different degrees depending on the nature of the organic compounds present. The electronic nose derived its name because it in several aspects tries to resemble the human nose. Human olfactory perception is based on chemical interaction between volatile odour compounds and the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity. The signals generated are transferred to the brain through synapses and secondary neurons and further led to the limbic system in the cortex where identification of odour takes place based on neural network pattern recognition. In principle, the primary neurons correspond to the chemical sensors of the electronic nose with different sensitivity to different odorous. By chemical interaction between odour compounds and the gas sensors the chemical…...

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