Electronic Tongue for Direct Assessment of SARS-CoV-2-Free and Infected Human Saliva-A Feasibility Study

Biosensors (Basel). 2023 Jul 7;13(7):717. doi: 10.3390/bios13070717.


An electronic tongue is a powerful analytical instrument based on an array of non-selective chemical sensors with a partial specificity for data gathering and advanced pattern recognition methods for data analysis. Connecting electronic tongues with electrochemical techniques for data collection has led to various applications, mostly within sensing for food quality and environmental monitoring, but also in biomedical research for the analyses of different bioanalytes in human physiological fluids. In this paper, an electronic tongue consisting of six electrodes (viz., gold, platinum, palladium, titanium, iridium, and glassy carbon) was designed and tested in authentic (undiluted, unpretreated) human saliva samples from eight volunteers, collected before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Investigations of 11 samples using differential pulse voltammetry and a principal component analysis allowed us to distinguish between SARS-CoV-2-free and infected authentic human saliva. This work, as a proof-of-principle demonstration, provides a new perspective for the use of electronic tongues in the field of enzyme-free electrochemical biosensing, highlighting their potential for future applications in non-invasive biomedical analyses.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; authentic human saliva; differential pulse voltammetry; electronic tongue; principial component analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques* / methods
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Electronic Nose
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Saliva