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Sensory Evaluation and Electronic Tongue for Sensing Flavored Mineral Water Taste Attributes



In this article a trained sensory panel evaluated 6 flavored mineral water samples. The samples consisted of 3 different brands, each with 2 flavors (pear-lemon grass and josta berry). The applied sensory method was profile analysis. Our aim was to analyze the sensory profiles and to investigate the similarities between the sensitivity of the trained human panel and an electronic tongue device. Another objective was to demonstrate the possibilities for the prediction of sensory attributes from electronic tongue measurements using a multivariate statistical method (Partial Least Squares regression [PLS]). The results showed that the products manufactured under different brand name but with the same aromas had very similar sensory profiles. The panel performance evaluation showed that it is appropriate (discrimination ability, repeatability, and panel consensus) to compare the panel's results with the results of the electronic tongue. The samples can be discriminated by the electronic tongue and an accurate classification model can be built. Principal Component Analysis BiPlot diagrams showed that Brand A and B were similar because the manufacturers use the same aroma brands for their products. It can be concluded that Brand C was quite different compared to the other samples independently of the aroma content. Based on the electronic tongue results good prediction models can be obtained with high correlation coefficient (r2 > 0.81) and low prediction error (RMSEP < 13.71 on the scale of the sensory evaluation from 0 to 100).

Practical Application

Total of 6 flavored mineral water samples were evaluated by a trained sensory panel and an electronic tongue device. Results showed that the products manufactured with the same aromas had very similar sensory profiles. We obtained a good prediction model to predict different sensory attributes based on the electronic tongue results. This highlights that electronic tongue instruments can be applied successfully in the bottled water industry.