Researchers of Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV) have developed an electronic tongue which is able to distinguish adulterated honeys in an easy, fast and cheap way.
According to the test carried out heretofore, with this tongue you can learn in just over an hour whether a sample has been adulterated, whereas analysing methods used currently, the process can go on for several days.
As the UPV researchers explain, the honey is typically adulterated with syrups or sugar molasses. “This leads to noticeable losses for the honeybee sector. Moreover, this scam breaches Union legislation and leads to a significant loss of confidence by the consumer,” adds Lara Sobrino, researcher at the Developmental Food Engineering Institute of the UPV.
Therefore, the electronic voltammetric tongue makes it possible to obtain a quick, easy and affordable solution compared to the devices used currently to detect scams. Thanks to the combination of the technique and statistical analysis of the data, the electronic tongue is able to detect “fraudulent symptoms”, differentiating pure honey from one adulterated with dietary syrups, as well as approximately establishing the level of adulteration.
“Out work offers a pioneering analytical technique that makes it possible to find out quickly and reliably the honey’s authenticity. We provide a solution to an important issue in the honeybee sector which is honey authenticity, which will make it possible to fight against unfair competition and guarantee the quality of the honey for the consumer,” highlights Juan Soto, researcher at the Molecular Recognition and Technological Development Institute of the UPV.
The tongue developed by UPV researchers therefore makes it possible to discover possible scams in honeys that are sold on the market. “If there is the suspicion that a honey could be adulterated, our system detects the symptoms reliably. The final step consists on carrying out a more precise analysis, by way of magnetic resonance techniques, as well as others. The tongue screens the samples; those where fraudulent symptoms are detected, should then be confirmed with other identification techniques,” adds Juan Soto.
Full bibliographic information
Sobrino-Gregorio, L., Bataller, R., Soto, J., & Escriche, I. “Monitoring honey adulteration with sugar syrups using an automatic pulse voltammetric electronic tongue”. Food Control 91 (2018) 254-260.