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International Journal of Electrochemistry
Volume 2012, Article ID 715763, 12 pages
Review Article

Electronic Nose for Microbiological Quality Control of Food Products

1CNR-IDASC SENSOR Laboratory and University of Brescia, Via Valotti 9, 25133 Brescia, Italy
2Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 208, 33100 Udine, Italy
3Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Modena and Reggio Emilia University, Via Amendola 2, 42100 Reggio Emilia, Italy

Received 7 September 2011; Revised 1 December 2011; Accepted 1 December 2011

Academic Editor: Miloslav Pravda

Copyright © 2012 M. Falasconi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Electronic noses (ENs) have recently emerged as valuable candidates in various areas of food quality control and traceability, including microbial contamination diagnosis. In this paper, the EN technology for microbiological screening of food products is reviewed. Four paradigmatic and diverse case studies are presented: (a) Alicyclobacillus spp. spoilage of fruit juices, (b) early detection of microbial contamination in processed tomatoes, (c) screening of fungal and fumonisin contamination of maize grains, and (d) fungal contamination on green coffee beans. Despite many successful results, the high intrinsic variability of food samples together with persisting limits of the sensor technology still impairs ENs trustful applications at the industrial scale. Both advantages and drawbacks of sensor technology in food quality control are discussed. Finally, recent trends and future directions are illustrated.