A recently developed multichannel taste sensor with global selectivity is being reviewed. This sensor is composed of several kinds of lipid/ polymer membranes for transforming information of taste substances into electric signals, which are analysed by a computer. The sensor output shows different patterns for chemical substances which have different taste qualities such as saltiness and sourness, while it shows similar patterns for chemicals with similar tastes. The sensor responds to taste in itself, as can be understood from the fact that taste interactions such as the suppression effect, which appears between sweet and bitter substances, can be well reproduced. Amino acids can be classified into several groups according to their own tastes with sensor outputs. The taste of foodstuffs such as beer, coffee, mineral water and vegetables can be discussed quantitatively using the taste sensor, which provides the objective scale for the human sensory expression. The taste sensor will open the door to a new stage of food culture.
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