Instrumental measurement of bitter taste in red wine using an electronic tongue

Rudnitskaya, Alisa; Nieuwoudt, Hélène H.; Muller, Nina; Legin, Andrey; Du Toit, Maret; Bauer, Florian F.
August 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Aug2010, Vol. 397 Issue 7, p3051
Academic Journal
An electronic tongue (ET) based on potentiometric chemical sensors was assessed as a rapid tool for the quantification of bitterness in red wines. A set of 39 single cultivar Pinotage wines comprising 13 samples with medium to high bitterness was obtained from the producers in West Cape, South Africa. Samples were analysed with respect to a set of routine wine parameters and major phenolic compounds using Fourier transform infrared-multiple internal reflection spectroscopy (WineScan) and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. A trained sensory panel assessed the bitterness intensity of 15 wines, 13 of which had a bitter taste of medium to high intensity. Thirty-one wine samples including seven bitter-tasting ones were measured by the ET. Influence of the chemical composition of wine on the occurrence of the bitter taste was evaluated using one-way analysis of variance. It was found that bitter-tasting wines had higher concentrations of phenolic compounds (catechin, epicatechin, gallic and caffeic acids and quercetin) than non-bitter wines. Sensitivity of the sensors of the array to the phenolic compounds related to the bitterness was studied at different pH levels. Sensors displayed sensitivity to all studied compounds at pH 7, but only to quercetin at pH 3.5. Based on these findings, the pH of wine was adjusted to 7 prior to measurements. Calibration models for classification of wine samples according to the presence of the bitter taste and quantification of the bitterness intensity were calculated by partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) regression. Statistical significance of the classification results was confirmed by the permutation test. Both ET and chemical analysis data could discriminate between bitter and control wines with the correct classification rates of 94% and 91%, respectively. Prediction of the bitterness intensity with good accuracy (root mean square error of 2 and mean relative error of 6% in validation) was possible only using ET data.


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