Recent Advances in Bitterness-Sensing Systems

Biosensors (Basel). 2023 Mar 23;13(4):414. doi: 10.3390/bios13040414.


Bitterness is one of the basic tastes, and sensing bitterness plays a significant role in mammals recognizing toxic substances. The bitter taste of food and oral medicines may decrease consumer compliance. As a result, many efforts have been made to mask or decrease the bitterness in food and oral pharmaceutical products. The detection of bitterness is critical to evaluate how successful the taste-masking technology is, and many novel taste-sensing systems have been developed on the basis of various interaction mechanisms. In this review, we summarize the progress of bitterness response mechanisms and the development of novel sensors in detecting bitterness ranging from commercial electronic devices based on modified electrodes to micro-type sensors functionalized with taste cells, polymeric membranes, and other materials in the last two decades. The challenges and potential solutions to improve the taste sensor quality are also discussed.

Keywords: bitterness; bitterness evaluation; electronic tongue; taste masking; taste sensors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electronics*
  • Mammals
  • Taste*