Biomimetic Sensors for the Senses: Towards Better Understanding of Taste and Odor Sensation
. Sensors (Basel) 2017
Taste and smell are very important chemical senses that provide indispensable information on food quality, potential mates and potential danger. In recent decades, much progress has been achieved regarding the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of taste and odor senses. Recently, biosensors have been developed for detecting odorants and tastants as well as for studying ligand-receptor interactions. This review summarizes the currently available biosensing approaches, which can be classified into two main categories: in vitro and in vivo approaches. The former is based on utilizing biological components such as taste and olfactory tissues, cells and receptors, as sensitive elements. The latter is dependent on signals recorded from animals' signaling pathways using implanted microelectrodes into living animals. Advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches, as well as differences in terms of sensing principles and applications are highlighted. The main current challenges, future trends and prospects of research in biomimetic taste and odor sensors are discussed.