Taste sensing systems (electronic tongues) for pharmaceutical applications

Int J Pharm. 2011 Sep 30;417(1-2):256-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2010.11.028. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Electronic tongues are sensor array systems able to detect single substances as well as complex mixtures by means of particular sensor membranes and electrochemical techniques. Two systems are already commercially available, the Insent taste sensing system and the αAstree electronic tongue. In addition, various laboratory prototype versions exist. Besides the successful use in food industry, the implementation for pharmaceutical purposes has strongly grown within the recent years. A reason for this is the increased interest of developing palatable formulations, especially for children. As taste assessment of drugs comes along with challenges due to possible toxicity and subjectivity of the taste assessors, electronic tongues could offer a safe and objective alternative. In order to provide guidance on the use of these systems, possible fields of interest are presented in this review, as for example, system qualification, quality control, formulation development, comparison between marketed drug products, and the validation of the methods used. Further, different approaches for solid and liquid dosage forms are summarized. But, also the difficulty to obtain absolute statements regarding taste was identified and the need of more validated data was discussed to offer guidance for the next years of research and application of electronic tongues for pharmaceutical applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / instrumentation*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Dosage Forms
  • Electronics / instrumentation*
  • Electronics / methods
  • Humans
  • Taste*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / instrumentation*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Tongue


  • Dosage Forms