M. Falasconi, E. Comini, I. Concina, V. Sberveglieri, E. Gobbi
Dip. di Ingegneria dell’Informazione, Università di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25133 , Brescia, Italy.
Electronic Nose (EN) is a machine designed for detecting and discriminating complex odours using an array of broadly specific chemical sensors by mimicking the working mechanism and the main building blocks of biological olfaction. ENs are valuable candidates to be applied in various areas of food quality control, including microbial contamination diagnosis. In this chapter the EN technology is presented and its exploitation for microbiological screening of food products is reviewed. Two paradigmatic examples are presented. Both advantages and drawbacks of sensor technology in food quality control are discussed. Despite of many successful results, the high intrinsic variability of food samples together with persisting limits of the sensor technology still impair ENs trustful applications at the industrial scale thus further research efforts and technology improvements are required.