Recent advances in electronic tongues
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This minireview describes the main developments of electronic tongues (e-tongues) and taste sensors in recent years, with a summary of the principles of detection and materials used in the sensing units. E-tongues are sensor arrays capable of distinguishing very similar liquids employing the concept of global selectivity, where the difference in the electrical response of different materials serves as a fingerprint for the analysed sample. They have been widely used for the analysis of wines, fruit juices, coffee, milk and beverages, in addition to the detection of trace amounts of impurities or pollutants in waters. Among the various principles of detection, electrochemical measurements and impedance spectroscopy are the most prominent. With regard to the materials for the sensing units, in most cases use is made of ultrathin films produced in a layer-by-layer fashion to yield higher sensitivity with the advantage of control of the film molecular architecture. The concept of e-tongues has been extended to biosensing by using sensing units capable of molecular recognition, as in films with immobilized antigens or enzymes with specific recognition for clinical diagnosis. Because the identification of samples is basically a classification task, there has been a trend to use artificial intelligence and information visualization methods to enhance the performance of e-tongues.