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Can you handle spicy food? This new e-tongue can do it better & more accurately

The e-tongue can handle as much heat as any scientist can throw at it and maintain accuracy.

PTI|
May 15, 2019, 12.08 PM IST
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WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed an electronic tongue that can 'taste' spicy foods more accurately than humans. Spicy food wears out taste buds quickly. This can be a problem for people who make and sell spicy food.

"At low concentrations, or low spiciness, it's hard to discriminate between two samples," said Courtney Schlossareck, a graduate student at Washington State University in the US.

"It's also hard to tell a difference between two samples at high concentrations," said Schlossareck.

The e-tongue's ability to differentiate between the spiciness of foods could come in handy for industry, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science.

WSU researchers have found that an electronic tongue, or e-tongue, is more effective and accurate in taste-testing fiery foods than sensitive human taste buds.
WSU researchers have found that an electronic tongue, or e-tongue, is more effective and accurate in taste-testing fiery foods than sensitive human taste buds.

A problem with testing spicy foods is that people can only test a few samples before their taste buds give out. After a few bites, taste buds can not distinguish differences in taste at all.

However, the e-tongue can handle as much heat as any scientist can throw at it and maintain accuracy.

"This 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," Schlossareck said.

"That would take days to do with people tasting them," she said.

That is because real people need to wait at least five minutes between samples. Even then, only a few samples can be tested because the spiciness lingers and can throw off results, she said.

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