As typical consumers, we probably smell/taste hundreds of different things in a given day. If you are working in the food industry (especially flavour houses), this number could easily reach a thousand! A flavourist will typically need to quantitatively & qualitatively identify individual chemicals in flavour formulations & different food applications. How does one quantify the strength of individual chemicals?
In 1914, Alexander Graham Bell noted:
Well, we can officially say that we have reached this point! Electronic noses have been on the market for years, but recent developments have brought new capabilities & possibilities. There also exists a magnetic tongue, which works on different principals, but it could be a great compliment to the electronic nose . "It could be the answer to analyses of some very complex interactions, like mouth flora, saliva and specific chemical combinations"4.
Current areas of interest of the electronic nose:
1. NASA: To detect electrical fires, ammonia leaks in the international space station & for space exploration 2
2. Detection of Disease: Tuberculosis, lung cancer, pneumonia could be detected by the detection of signature biomarkers in the patients breath3
3. Flavour Formulating: This could be a very valuable analytical tool
4. Food Industry: Quality control
5. Mines: Detection of gas leaks