An ultrasensitive bioelectronic tongue that can detect sweetness
Candy, cookies, juices. Everyone loves sweets; However, what one person considers too sweet maybe a different person’s opinion perfect. This makes it challenging to create new food items and beverages, so many companies have looked for an objective approach.While sensory panels for humans are the most popular method to assess a food’s taste, there are many different ways people perceive the taste. Scientists have created bioelectronic tongues in labs; however, they’re either difficult to construct or do not precisely replicate how the human language operates.
Human tongues contain sweet taste receptors with two complexes, large structures that bind to sugars. The most outermost part from one system is referred to as”the Venus flytrap domain due to its hinged two-lobed molecular form resembles the leaves of the insectivore plant, which wraps itself around the prey. This domain interacts with the majority of the sweet ingredients a consumer consumes. In a prior study, Tai Hyun Park, Seunghun Hong, and co-workers created umami sensors with human-like capabilities using only the protein located at the top of the taste receptor for umami. Therefore, the researchers decided to use the same idea to develop a sweet-sensing electronic tongue using their Venus flytrap as electronic tastebuds.
The researchers added copies from the Venus flytrap domain created by bacteria in a skinny layer on the gold electrode. Then, they connected multiple gold electrodes to carbon nanotubes, forming an electronic field-effect transistor. When the solutions of naturally sweet sucrose or artificial sweetener saccharin were applied to the devices, their voltage diminished. Researchers assert that the sensor reacted to these solutions up to 0.1 Femtomolar level, which has a 10 million-fold higher sensitivity than prior bioelectronic sweet sensors. It was also able to consistently evaluate the sweetness of actual drinks like the juice of an apple and chamomile sweetened with sucrose tea; however, it did not display a reaction when cellobiose (a tasteless sugar that is tasteless) and monosodium glutamate (a salt that is known by the name of MSG) were added. Since the bioelectronic tongue is highly sensitive and selective for sweet-tasting compounds, researchers believe it could be an effective instrument for the pharmaceutical, health care, and food and beverage industries.