Any person who has worked as a taste-tester of spicy foods will tell you that there is a limited number of samples that you can try at any given time before your taste buds give up. The taste buds become desensitized and must be given a rest. However, a recently developed electronic tongue can measure the spiciness of multiple foods for hours with the highest order of accuracy.
The electronic tongue has been created by scientists at Washington State University. It was tested using samples of paneer cheese that contained different level so capsaicin. The results were compared with volunteers who were asked to test the very same samples. The results concluded that the electronic tongue was able to accurately detect capsaicin levels long after the taste buds of the volunteers had become desensitized.
Furthermore, the electronic tongue not only offers more objective measurements as opposed to human taste-testers but is also capable of determining even minor spiciness differences in heavily and lightly spiced foods. The creators of the electronic tongue, however, are of the belief that there will still be a place for human beings when it comes to assessing the flavor of spicy foods. The recently developed technology is focused on streamlining the process.
Researcher Courtney Scholssareck said, ‘ [It] would allow testers to narrow a selection down to two or three samples for a human tasting panel if they start from 20 different formulations. That would take days to do with people tasting them.’ A paper detailing the electronic tongue has been published in the Journal of Food Science. If you think you have heard about the electronic tongues, then you are right. There have been electronic tongues that were developed previously, but they were designed for assessing honey, beer, fruit, and wine.
What do you think of the e-tongue? Do you think it will affect the job market of taste-testers?