The electronic tongue and ATR-FTIR for rapid detection of sugars and acids in tomatoes

Katrien Beullens, Dmitriy Kirsanov, Joseph Irudayaraj, Alisa Rudnitskaya, Andrey Legin, Bart M. Nicolaï, Jeroen Lammertyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The electronic tongue and attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) have been evaluated as novel rapid techniques in taste research. The electronic tongue, consisting of 27 potentiometric sensors, and ATR-FTIR, a well-established spectroscopic technique, have been used to determine the sugar and acid profile of four tomato cultivars: Aranca, Climaks, Clotilde and DRW 73-29. The most abundant sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and organic acids (citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, fumaric acid and succinic acid) in tomatoes were measured with HPLC as a traditional reference technique. The ability of the novel techniques to detect differences in sugar and acid profiles between these four tomato cultivars has been studied by means of unsupervised and supervised multivariate data analysis techniques such as principal components analysis (PCA) and canonical discriminant analysis (CDA). Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) was applied to compare the information content of the reference technique with that of the electronic tongue and ATR-FTIR. The potential of both the electronic tongue and ATR-FTIR to predict the chemical composition of a sample has been evaluated using partial least squares (PLS) models. Both the electronic tongue and ATR-FTIR have the potential to measure taste determining compounds. Tomato cultivars can be classified based on their sugar and acid profile. However, the prediction of individual components in tomato juice is still inaccurate and needs further optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 28 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acids
  • Electronic tongue
  • HPLC
  • Multivariate data analysis
  • Sugars
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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