So you just dropped nearly five dollars on a shapely bottle of POM juice. With the back label extolling the virtues of the pomegranate's antioxidant superpowers, you're expecting nothing short of a miraculous health boost with each sip.
But really, how can we know for sure how powerful juices like POM are?
Why not dip an electric tongue system in the bottle and find out?
Researchers at the Center for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM) and the CUINA group of the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) in Spain have developed a new electronic tongue system that analyzes the antioxidant powers of juices, fruit and fruit purees.
The UPV researchers say that in recent years electronic tongues have become a superior method in analyzing and controlling the quality of food products.
"Electronic tongues, using electrochemical techniques, help us to sort food samples in situ and to quantify their physicochemical parameters, in a fast and economical way," said Ramon Martinez Mañez in a news release from AlphaGalileo. Mañez is a researcher at the UPV and IDM.
Though the system doesn't look anything like a tongue, it does consist of a PC application, spectroscopic and voltammetric instruments for electronic measuring.
"What we do is, we apply electrical signals to the solution and we measure its response. Thus we can quantify the antioxidant concentration in that solution," said Miguel Alcañiz, IDM researcher at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia.
So far, the researchers have successfully tested the system on different antioxidant solutions such as citric acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), malic acid and binary mixtures.
The team is now working on the study of the degradation of vitamin C in juices.
"We're starting to work very soon in the direct application of the electronic tongue to the evaluation of orange juice," said Jose Manuel Barat, a researcher at the UPV’s CUINA group.
The system was recently presented at the V Workshop on Sensors and Molecular Recognition at the UPV’s School of Agricultural Engineering and Environment.