An 'electronic nose' was designed by an Italian researcher to study wines on the market, an instrument capable of recognizing the freshness of the product and its origin: it is the result of the work of the Brescian physicist Sonia Freddi, in the laboratories of the Department of Physics from the Catholic University of Brescia. The discovery paves the way for quality control tests.
Foods and drinks emit particular gas molecules that can indicate whether a product is fresh or spoiled. The nose detects these biomarker molecules thanks to the analysis of volatile components and can potentially be applied in various fields such as controlling the quality, freshness and origin of products.
Wine, in particular, is characterized by particular organoleptic and volatile components, around 800 different ones, which identify not only its chemical composition or the type of grape used but also its origin. In recent years, the wine industry has sought increasingly rapid and reliable techniques to check the origin of DOCG or DOC wines; the use of an electronic nose, thanks to the high sensitivity of the sensors, is a technique that is becoming increasingly popular in this area.
The electronic nose has been tested in the laboratory on various sample substances; for example ammonia, acetone and acetic acid, indicators of wine adulteration. Subsequently it was the turn of the actual tests of various wines, both to verify their freshness (in particular of a generic white cooking wine), and for the recognition of different types of wine. Various white and red wines produced in Lombardy were tested (Pinot grigio, Pinot rosso, Lugana, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Prosecco, Rime rosè). The electronic nose proved capable of both recognizing the freshness and adulteration of a generic white wine and recognizing the various wines tested with good precision.
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