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Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and


Aromatic Plants
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jarmap

Review article

Application of electronic nose systems for assessing quality of


medicinal and aromatic plant products: A review
Sajad Kiani a , Saeid Minaei a,∗ , Mahdi Ghasemi-Varnamkhasti b
a
Biosystems Engineering Department, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
b
Department of Mechanical Engineering of Biosystems, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Quality assurance has always been an important issue in the production and utilization of medicinal
Received 27 May 2015 and aromatic plants. Most medicinal plants have aromatic characteristics due to the presence of Volatile
Received in revised form 6 December 2015 Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be analyzed using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. More
Accepted 14 December 2015
modern techniques use sensors along with signal processing and advanced data processing algorithms.
Available online 15 January 2016
Electronic noses (e-noses), are instruments designed to mimic the sense of smell found in biological
systems. E-noses contain numerous types of gas sensors that interact with odor molecules to produce
Keywords:
electronic signals. Then, the sensor responses are sent to a computer system that uses multivariate data
Artificial olfaction
Electronic nose
analysis methods to distinguish differences in the data based on the VOCs in the sample headspace. This
Medicinal and aromatic plants paper provides a review of the applications of e-nose technologies for assessing the quality and safety of
Quality control commercially-available medicinal plant products. Advantages and limitations of these systems are also
covered.
© 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. E-nose technology and its structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2.1. Sampling system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2.2. Detection systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2.3. Data processing systems and pattern recognition methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3. E-nose applications in medicinal and aromatic plants evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
4. Advantages and limitations of the e-nose technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
5. Conclusions and Future Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1. Introduction Egypt, herbs are mentioned in Egyptian medical papyri, depicted


in tomb illustrations, and so on (Solecki, 1975; Keller, 1994; Nunn,
Vegetable raw materials such as plants or derivatives (extracts, 2002). The therapeutic properties of certain plants were discovered
tinctures, essential oils or dried products) have been widely used and propagated from generation to generation as a part of the popu-
by pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry (Carvalho, 2004). lar culture through observations and experimentation by primitive
Archaeological evidence indicates that the use of medicinal plants people (Bensky and Gamble, 1993; Turolla & Nascimento, 2006).
dates back at least to the paleolithic era, approximately 60,000 According to World Health Organization (WHO), a significant
years ago. Written evidence of herbal remedies dates back to over percentage of people are using medicinal plants and expenditure on
5000 years ago, when Sumerians created lists of plants. In ancient their derivatives is increasing dramatically due to their nutritional
and medicinal values. The world market for herbal medicine includ-
ing herbal products and raw materials has been estimated to have
∗ Corresponding author. Fax.: +98 2144180537. annual growth in the range of 5–15% (WHO, 2000,2003; Baby et al.,
E-mail addresses: minaee@modares.ac.ir, sminaee@gmail.com (S. Minaei). 2005; Shafiqul Islama et al., 2006; Zhang et al., 2012). These prepa-

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmap.2015.12.002
2214-7861/© 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
2 S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9

rations are defined as any medication obtained and prepared, using This instrument can also test samples that are unfit for human
only vegetable raw materials with prophylactic, curative or diag- consumption with complex odors. E-nose does not resolve the sam-
nostic properties, entailing benefit to the user (Elvin-Lewis, 2001). ple volatiles into individual components but, instead responds to
According to a survey of the public in the USA, people use herbal the whole set of volatiles in a unique digital pattern (Zhang et al.,
medicines because they prefer natural remedies [47%], there are 2008). The main disadvantage of e-nose systems (as with human
fewer side effects [17%], they are more efficient [17%], less expen- olfaction) is that they are also affected by the environment elements
sive [10%] and milder [8%] (Mc-Caleb, 2000). Uncertainty about such as air temperature and humidity, which can cause sensor drift,
effectiveness, safety and variation in quality of the product are some although calibration systems and built-in algorithms help compen-
of the factors limiting the rational use of herbal medicine. Because sate for this shortcoming (Baldwin et al., 2011).
many people collect and distribute herbal medicine on their own, There are several reviews on the subject of e-nose technol-
the offered products are sometimes not what the label indicates ogy, including reviews on the applications of e-nose systems in
either due to a lack of expert knowledge or genuine mistake, or agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industries (Deisingh et al.,
through adulteration especially where expensive herbal medicine 2004; Wilson and Baietto, 2009; Wilson, 2013; Loutfi et al., 2015),
is concerned (Zhao et al., 2006; Eloff et al., 2011). Also, what worries biomimetic/biotechnology (Ghasemi-Varnamkhasti et al., 2010),
the scientific community is the use of new plant species as medicine and pattern recognition techniques as well as computational meth-
without proven data about their biological action, non-toxicity, side ods for analysis of e-nose data (Jurs et al., 2000; Berrueta et al., 2007;
effects, safety, and efficacy. Although these herbal medicines have Lu et al., 2010). This review is concerned with recent literature on
natural active constituents, they should be assessed as drugs and the applications of e-nose systems in quality assessment and pro-
therefore subjected to strict controls at every stage of their devel- cessing operations of medicinal and aromatic plant industries. The
opment and evaluation (Jose Otavio et al., 2011; Wickramasinghe, principles behind the design of e-nose devices as well as advantages
2006). Thus, due to the diversity, increased demand, and high value and limitations are also discussed.
of some medicinal plants, common issues such as adulteration, low
quality or contaminated product which can produce adverse effects
2. E-nose technology and its structure
in consumers could give rise. For these reasons, concerns has been
expressed on the need for quality standards to ensure the safety,
E-nose is designed to detect and discriminate among complex
authenticity and efficacy of the medicinal products (WHO, 2004;
odors. This analytical device is usually made up of an array of sen-
Chang et al., 2002; Brinckmann and McIntyre, 2006).
sors which respond to gases and vapors generated by the sample.
Many methodologies and techniques have been employed to
The sensor array consists of non specific sensors that are treated
authenticate and assess the quality of raw medicinal, aromatic
with a variety of chemical materials; each element measures a dif-
plant materials and their derived products. The complexity of most
ferent property of the sensed chemical (Gardner and Bartlett, 1994;
food aromas makes it difficult to be characterize the quality of
Arshak et al., 2004). The sensor array is exposed to the volatile
final product with conventional flavor analysis techniques such as
molecules and smell print is then generated from sensor array
gas chromatography, spectroscopy and chemical analysis. More-
accordingly. Patterns from known odors are used to construct the
over, sensory analysis by a panel of experts is a time-consuming,
database and train a pattern recognition system so that unknown
inaccurate and expensive process since it requires trained peo-
odors can be classified and identified (Shaffer et al., 1998; Tian et al.,
ple can work for relatively short periods of time (Perisa and
2005). E-nose devices are composed of three main elements: (a)
Escuder-Gilabertb, 2009). In this regard, advances in aroma-sensor
sampling system, (b) detection system, and (c) data processing and
technology, electronics, biochemistry and artificial intelligence
pattern recognition algorithms. Fig. 2 shows the schematic diagram
have made it possible to develop instruments such as e-nose capa-
of the e-nose system.
ble of measuring and characterizing volatile aromas with numerous
applications (Wilson and Baietto, 2009). E-nose is an instrument
that mimics the sense of biological smell and its communication 2.1. Sampling system
with biological brain. The human olfactory system is the actual sys-
tem containing thousands of receptors that can detect some odors To introduce the volatile compounds present in the headspace
even at parts per trillion levels (Breer, 1997; Duran and Baldovino, (HS) of the sample into the e-noses detection system, several
2009). Each receptor with respect to odors produces and transmits sampling techniques have been used in the literature: Static
biological signals to the brain. The brain, then, interprets these sig- headspace (SHS) technique, Purge and Trap (P&T) and Dynamic
nals and makes a judgment to identify the substance consumed, Headspace (DHS) techniques (pre-concentration method), Solid-
based on previous experience. Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) (pre-concentration method), Stir
In accordance with biological odor sensing system, an e-nose, Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE), Inside-Needle Dynamic Extraction
which mimics the perceptional mechanisms of biological olfaction, (INDE) (pre-concentration method), and Membrane Introduction
is defined as the instrument that involves an array of various types Mass Spectrometry (MIMS) (Berna et al., 2009; Perisa and Escuder-
of electronic chemical gas sensors and a pattern recognition system Gilabertb, 2009). Any sampling headspace technique can be used
to detect and distinguish odors in complex samples (Pearce et al., as the sample-handling part of e-nose, each one has both merits
2003; Reid et al., 2006). In fact, the e-nose sensors resemble the pri- and shortcomings, so, the choice must be made through complete
mary neurons with different sensitivity to different odors. Through care taking into account the type of sample and the method spec-
chemical interaction between odor compounds and the sensors, a ifications required. SHS is the most common technique because
change in either physical or chemical properties takes place, giv- it is very simple to use. However, in some applications, the SHS
ing rise to electrical signals which are recorded by the computer technique has the drawback of low sensitivity because of no
systems. As a consequence, the signals from the individual sensors pre-concentrating in volatile compounds. On the other hand, pre-
involved in the system show a pattern which is unique to the com- concentration systems improve the sensitivity, allow for easier
pound used and is, thereafter, analyzed using chemometric tools. detection and extracting semi-volatiles which otherwise would
When the sensor patterns for a series of samples are compared, the not be identified. Samples temperature, equilibration time, vial
acquired differences can be correlated with the perceived sample size and sample quantity are the main parameters that have to be
odor (Ghasemi-Varnamkhasti et al., 2009). Fig. 1 shows the analogy optimized. More details have been reported by Bhattacharyya and
between biological and e-nose systems. Bandhopadhyay (2010).
S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9 3

Fig. 1. Analogy between the biological and e-nose systems (Based on diagram presented by Ghasemi-Varnamkhasti and Aghbashlo, 2014).

Fig. 2. A schematic diagram of the e-nose system (Based on diagram presented by Hernandez-Gomez et al., 2006).

2.2. Detection systems of 75–200 ◦ C), low sensitivity to humidity and good sensitiv-
ity to toxic and flammable substances are its advantages. It has
The most sophisticated part of an e-nose system is the odor been used in various food-related tests such as food cooking,
sensors. Various kinds of gas sensors are available, but only five fermenting, juice-making processes and ethylene measurement
technologies are most common (Baldwin et al., 2011): (Winquist et al., 1990; Spetz et al., 2000; Zhao et al., 2000).
• Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) sensors: These are piezoelectric
devices based on quartz crystal oscillators coated with a range of
• Conducting Polymer micro-sensors (CP): Physical and electri-
materials that selectively adsorb analytes and result in changes in
cal properties of conducting polymers are altered significantly
the frequency of oscillation. Capability to measure polar and non-
by a selective interaction with some certain analytes. Differ-
polar species, high selectivity, stability over a wide temperature
ent polymers show non-overlapping selectivity towards different
range, low sensitivity to humidity changes, good reproducibility,
material compounds. Thus, an array of polymer sensors can be
and well characterized coating chemistry are the advantages of
used to generate a pattern of response to distinguish different gas
BAW sensors (King, 1964; Lucklum and Hauptmann, 2000).
species. The advantages of the CP-based sensors which operate • Optical sensors: Optical sensors measure the modulation of light
at ambient temperature are: high stability, wide range of appli-
properties or characteristics such as changes in light absorbance,
cations, excellent reproducibility, high sensitivity and selectivity
polarization, fluorescence, optical layer thickness, color or wave-
(Rella et al., 2000; Koul et al., 2001).
length (colorimetric) and other optical properties upon exposure
• Metal-Oxides Sensors (MOS): These are based on semiconduct-
to gas analytes. The main advantages of this type of gas sen-
ing sensing elements, e.g., tin oxide, which shows a change of
sor are: low energy consumption, high signal-to-noise ratio, very
resistivity on exposure to certain analytes. Advantages of metal
high sensitivity, capability of identifying of individual compounds
oxide sensors are: low response to humidity changes, good sen-
in mixtures and multi-parameter detection capabilities (Campos
sitivity, longevity, wide range of applications and acceptable
et al., 2000; Wilson and Baietto, 2009).
response and good discriminating power (Zhang and Liu, 2000;
Bhattacharyya and Bandhopadhyay, 2010).
• Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MOS- Among the above mentioned types of sensors, MOS and CP
FET):This is a special type of Field-Effect Transistor (FET) that are most commonly used in commercial e-nose systems. More
works by electronically varying the width of a channel along details may be found in reports by Wilson and Baietto (2009),
which charge carriers flow (used for amplifying or switching elec- Bhattacharyya and Bandhopadhyay (2010), Berna, (2010) and
tronic signals) (Middelhoek, 2000). The molecules entering the Sujatha et al. (2012). Each category of sensors has various types that
sensor area have a direct effect on the electric field inside the are sensitive to different gases and the choice of sensor depends on
MOSFET which produces a change in the output signal. Small sen- the type of gas exposure. Table 1 summarizes a list of some of the
sor size, high selectivity and sensitivity (at working temperatures common commercially available e-nose models.
4 S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9

Table 1
A list of some of the common commercially available electronic nose models (Loutfi et al., 2015).

Model Country No. of sensors Technology Manufacturer Country

I-Pen, PEN2, PEN3 Sensor 6 MOS Airsense Analytics Germany


QCS 2 MOS Gerstel GmbH & Co. KG Germany
Artinose 38 MOS Sysca AG Germany
FF2 6 MOS RST Rostock System-Technik GmbH Germany
GFD1 6 MOS
FOX 2000, 3000 & 4000 6, 12 & 18 MOS Alpha MOS France
Promethus 18 MOS
Air quality module 2 MOS Applied Sensor Sweden
EOS 835, Ambiente 6 MOS Sacmi Italy
Bloodhound ST 214 14 CP Scensive Technologies UK
Aromascan A32S 32 CP Osmetech Plc USA
Cyranose 320 32 CP Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. USA

cessing and identification. Also, the headspace vapor of different


E-nose Technological Make-Up
types of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) extracts was analyzed by
e-nose and GC-Mass Spectroscopy (MS) systems (Shafiqul Islama
Microelectronic
et al., 2006). Correlation between sensor response and identi-
Sensors Array Data Processing
Devises Algorithmes fied compounds were studied (using PCA). Some of the identified
compounds exhibit good correlation with the sensor array data
Fig. 3. A general representation of e-nose systems (Based on diagram presented by obtained from e-nose.
Shyam Jha, 2010). In a related study, Shafiqul Islam et al. (2010) developed an
e-nose based on a quartz crystal microbalance array sensor, and
2.3. Data processing systems and pattern recognition methods applied it for detecting the local medicinal plantextracts, Eurycoma
longifolia. Their results showed that small changes in volatiles can
The interpretation of the complex data sets from e-nose signals be detected successfully. About lotus root beverage that is com-
or data processing techniques is accomplished by use of multi- monly made from Raw Lotus Root (RLR), properties of Full Lotus
variate data analysis such as Principal Component Analyses (PCA), Root Powder (FLRP) beverage were studied and a qualitative com-
Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), Hierarchical Cluster Analysis parison of flavor compounds between RLR and FLRP beverages was
(HCA), Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy (SIMCA) Partial made by e-nose (Liu et al., 2010). They reported that the basic flavor
Least Squares (PLS), Discriminant Functions Analysis (DFA), Cluster compounds were consistent and the flavor radar plots had approx-
Analysis (CA) and Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA) (Gardner, imately the same shape, area and proportion when all ingredients
1991; Goodner et al., 2001). For non-linear responses, many pat- were identical apart from FLRP and RLR.
tern recognition techniques based on artificial intelligence have Rodriguez et al. (2010) described an e-nose system for quality
been explored for the analysis of sensors array data, e.g. k-Nearest evaluation of coffee. They worked on the detection and classifi-
Neighbor (k-NN), Artificial Neural Network (ANN), Support Vector cation of defects in Colombian coffee. Their results showed that
Machine (SVM), Radial Basis Function (RBF), Self-Organizing Map e-nose technology can be an effective tool for quality control and
(SOM) and Relevance Vector Machine (RVM) classifier which can be evaluation of the excellence of Colombian coffee. In order to clas-
widely used for classification and regression. (Distante et al., 2003; sify different types of drugs (namely cannabis buds, cannabis plants,
Brudzewski et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2005). Among these tech- hashish, snuff tobacco and tobacco leaves), Haddi et al. (2011) used
niques, PCA, PLS, LDA, DFA and CA are based on a linear approach a simple and portable e-nose system based MOS gas sensors. To
while ANN, SVM and RBF are regarded as nonlinear methods (Zhou demonstrate its discrimination capability, unsupervised and super-
et al., 2006; Scott et al., 2006; Khalaf et al., 2009). As an example, one vised classification models were developed and evaluated. PCA of
common approach to classifying e-nose data is to convert the data volatile profiles revealed five distinct groups corresponding to the
to principal components (using PCA) which then form the inputs five different drugs analyzed, their results were confirmed by a
to a modern learning algorithms such as ANN, SVM, or RBF (Wang multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test, and finally SVM
et al., 2009; Haddi et al., 2011; Zou et al., 2014; Loutfi et al., 2015). reached a 98.5% success rate in the recognition of drugs being
Fig. 3 shows the technological make-up representation of e-nose tested.
systems. Olunloyo et al. (2011) developed a prototype e-nose system to
monitor the quality of cocoa beans. The system is comprised an
3. E-nose applications in medicinal and aromatic plants array of MOS sensors and an ANN as a pattern recognition unit.
evaluation The results obtained from assessment experiments on cocoa beans
showed good agreement with those obtained from the traditional
The applications of e-nose have been numerous and gener- ‘cut test’, recording up to 95% accuracy. To discriminate green tea
ated great interest in the analytical laboratories, food, medicinal quality, e-nose technique was used by Chen et al. (2011). Four
plants, flavor, and fragrance companies as a fast, simple, and grades of green tea, which were classified by the human panel
reliable method of aroma analysis worldwide. Over the past 5 test, were attempted in the experiment. First, the e-nose system
years, the sensors array systems have demonstrated its ability to with eight MOS gas sensors array, PCA classifier and three differ-
produce information and transfer expert knowledge into a pro- ent linear or nonlinear classification tools, which were KNN, ANN
duction environment for quality assurance and control (Kenneth and SVM was developed. Their final results showed that predictive
and Strassburger, 1998). E-nose system (Fox4000) was successfully discrimination rate was equal to 95% in the prediction set.
used to evaluate different qualities and intensities of various fla- Red ginseng is a precious and widely used traditional Chi-
vors used in pharmaceutical formulations (Zhu et al., 2001). Good nese medicine. An e-nose based on MOS gas sensors coupled with
correlation between Gas Chromatography (GC), sensory panel and chemometrics method was developed by Li et al. (2012) to rapidly
e-nose data were found by using both PCA and DFA for data pro- and nondestructively discriminate between Chinese red ginseng
S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9 5

Table 2
Some more applications of e-nose in medicinal and aromatic plants quality characterization.

Application Case Objective Sensors type Data analysis methods Researcher(s)

Coffee Discrimination of three commercial coffees MOS DFA Gardner et al. (1992)
Analysis of coffee data from e-nose MOS Fuzzy ANN Singh et al. (1996)
Quality control of coffeeusing MOS DFA Tan et al. (1997)
Application of flavor sensor to coffee Quality MOS ANN Fukunaga et al. (2002)
evaluation
Coffee quality analysis CP PCA & MLP Pardo et al. (2000); Pardo and
Sberveglieri (2002); Falasconi
et al. (2003)
Evaluating coffee ripening MOS PCA Falasconi et al. (2005)
Analysis of Colombian coffee samples MOS PCA Rodriguez et al. (2009)
Saffron Determination of the volatile profile of saffron samples MOS PCA Carmona et al. (2005)
from different geographic origins
Olive oil Characterization of olive oil using an e-nose CP LDA Stella et al. (2000)
Quality control of the aroma of the virgin olive oil CP PCA Guadarrama et al. (2000)
Quality control of olive oil aroma, discrimination of CP PCA Guadarrama et al. (2001)
quality, variety of olive and geographic origin
Discrimination of olive and seed oils MOS LDA, KNN, ANN & SIMCA Yolanda Gonzalez et al. (2001)
Cocoa Monitoring cocoa beans aroma and quality MOS LDA,PCA & ANN Hashim and Plumas (1999)
Identification of the key aroma compounds in cocoa MOS ANN Frauendorfer and Schieberle
powder (2006)
Tea Tea quality prediction and standardization MOS PCA & ANN Dutta et al. (2003)
Classification of tea aroma MOS PCA & ANN Borah et al. (2008)
Monitoring of black tea fermentation process MOS PCA & LDA Bhattacharyya et al. (2007)
Discrimination of LongJing green-tea grade MOS PCA, LDA & ANN Yu and Wang (2007)
Classification of black tea MOS PCA Bhattacharya et al. (2008a)
Identification of optimum fermentation time for black MOS SOM (ANN) Bhattacharya et al. (2008b)
tea
Quality grade identification of green tea MOS PCA & ANN Yu et al. (2008, 2009)
Distinguish the Japanese green teas with different MOS PCA Yang et al. (2009)
amounts of coumarin
Quality evaluation of black tea MOS RBF (ANN) Tudu et al. (2009)
Angelica Gigantis Discrimination of Angelica gigantis radix MOS PCA & ANN Chang et al. (2002)
Radix Investigation of different production areas for MOS DFA & PCA Zheng et al. (2015)
monitoring the correlation of origin and quality
Oregano Distinguish oregano and lovage samples MOS CDA &PCA Seregely and Novak (2005)
White Pepper Sensory testing to assess flavor quality of white pepper MOS LDA Liu et al. (2013)
Ginsengs Investigation of changes in aroma of ginsengs of MOS DFA & PCA Cui et al. (2013)
different growing years
Zingiberaceae Identify ten different species of Chinese Herbal MOS PCA Lian et al. (2014)
Medicines
Lonicera Japonica Quality control of Lonicera Japonica stored for different MOS LDA, PCA & RBF Xiong et al. (2014)
period of time
Asteraceae Authentication and quality control of different MOS PCA & PBF Zou et al. (2014)
Asteraceae plants
Jasmine Flowers Characterization of the volatile aroma compounds MOS LDA Ray et al. (2014)
from Jasmine flowers grown in India

and Korean ginseng. The results indicated that Chinese red ginseng and spearmint (Mentha spicata L.). Each plant sample was exposed
and Korean ginseng were successfully discriminated using e-nose to sensor chamber. A good discrimination of the plant samples was
coupled with PCA, DFA and SIMCA. Peng et al. (2012) developed achieved by PCA. In the case of red onion, potential application of a
and evaluated an e-nose system to appraise the quality between MOS based on e-nose, was used to discriminate three “Tropea Red
wild and cultivated Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae. Sensor Onion” PGI ecotypes (TrT, TrMC and TrA) from each other and the
response values were obtained from volatile compounds of Rhi- common red onion (RO), which is usually used to counterfeit (Russo
zoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae.PCA and DFA were utilized to et al., 2013). The signals from the sensor array were processed using
combine the optimum feature parameters and statistical quality a canonical DFA pattern recognition technique. The DFA on onion
control. Results showed that the odor of wild Atractylodis Macro- samples showed a clear separation among the four onion groups
cephalae Rhizoma was different from that of the cultivated type. with an overall correct classification rate (CR) of 97.5%. Profiling
Since many Apiaceae plants, with antimicrobial activities, have of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) essential oils, from eight samples
similar characteristics, and it is difficult to separate them from one (S1–S8) grown in different regions of India was carried out by e-
another, Lin et al. (2013) used an e-nose and multivariate statisti- nose techniques. Sensory odor profiling indicated that samples S7
cal analyses to distinguish different kinds of Apiaceae plants. The and S8 had significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher intensity of floral, cumin-
dynamic response of a MOS array to Apiaceae plants showed that like, and citrusy aroma notes (Ravi et al., 2013).
the response values and different kinds of Apiaceae plants were Banal et al. (2014) presented an e-nose system based on CP
positively related. LDA, PCA, HCA and ANN, were employed and gas sensors for discrimination Vitex negundo (Lagundi), Mentha
result showed that these samples could be classified correctly by arvensis (Yerba Buena), M. piperita (Peppermint), Artemisia dracun-
these method. culus (Taraggon), Blumea balsafimera (Sambong), and Plectranthus
Igat et al. (2013) developed and employed an e-nose system by amboinicus (Cuban Oregano). The resistance of the doped polymers
means of six AT-cut quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensors, changed upon exposure to the headspace of finely-chopped leaves
as a method of differentiating commonly used mint plants-yerba of the plants. The different plant samples yielded distinct responses
buena (Mentha cordifolia opiz.), peppermint (Mentha piperita L.), from the sensor array. The results were subjected to PCA and Den-
6 S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9

E-nose System Feature Extraction Combined


Classification
Data based
Results
Complementary on Fusion
Feature Extraction
Technique

Fig. 4. Fusion of e-nose and other artificial senses scheme for quality evaluation of medicinal plants.

drogram Analysis (DA). PCA showed good discrimination among produce a fused result that provides the most detailed and reliable
plant samples and DA confirmed the PCA results. information possible (Kiani et al. 2015). As an example of fusion
In the case of saffron, Heidarbeigi et al. (2015) described that techniques, recently e-nose and e-tongue have been used as smart
due to the high cost of saffron, adulteration sometimes may occur. sensing systems in quality evaluation of flavor (Cole et al. 2011;
Thus the aroma fingerprints of saffron, saffron with yellow styles, Sundic et al. 2000). The e-tongue is a liquid analysis device that
safflower and dyed corn stigma were detected by an e-nose system mimics the taste-sensing mechanism and information processing
based on MOS gas sensors. Features of the signals obtained from of biological gustatory systems. It comprises an array of sensors
the sensors were extracted and PCA and ANN were used for data that are specific for liquid and able to classify four basic qualities:
analysis. As a conclusion, the e-nose was able to differentiate non- sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami taste (Toko, 2000; Vlasov
adulterated and adulterated saffron at higher than 10% adulteration et al. 2002). Some examples include: fusion of e-nose and e-tongue
level, successfully. data for measurement of aroma and taste of tea varieties, Perilla
In the most recent study e-nose technique combined with frutescens characteristics and characteristics of olive oil samples by
chemometrics analysis were used to investigate aroma profiles of Banerjee(Roy) et al. (2012), Laureati et al. (2010) and Apetrei et al.
ginseng samples at different ages (Cui et al. 2015). They presented (2010) and Men et al. (2014), respectively. All these reports state
that both PCA and DFA performed well when used to analyze gin- that the senses of smell and taste are not independent but are inter-
seng samples. Also in predicting ginseng age using ANN, e-nose data acting phenomena. The measured data provided by the individual
was found to predict more accurately than GC–MS data. Table 2 systems were combined to improve the results. Authors suggested
summarizes some other applications of e-nose system for quality that for the combined system, both clustering and classification
and safety characterization of medicinal and aromatic plants. rates improve compared to the individual systems.

4. Advantages and limitations of the e-nose technology


5. Conclusions and Future Trends
The advantages of e-nose include high sensitivity and good
correlation with data coming from human sensory panels for Aroma is one of the most important quality indicators for many
specific applications in food control, non-destructive techniques, medicinal plants and their products, specifying important quality
being easy to build, cost-effective, providing real-time detection characteristics in the raw material. In most medicinal plant process-
and on-line monitoring of volatiles and requiring short analysis ing operations such as drying and fermentation, aroma can be lost,
time (Perisa and Escuder-Gilabertb, 2009). As mentioned in sec- altered, distorted, or even destroyed. Thus, aromatic characteris-
tion one, gas chromatography and spectrophotometry have some tics of these materials should be properly and rapidly monitored
limitations while e-nose technique presents a number of advan- and controlled during processing. In other words, a processing
tages over conventional analysis methods. E-nose technique also condition of these materials would contain in-line in-process sen-
presents a number of problems which have not been solved yet. sory attribute measurement and feedback control. In this paper,
These include issues such as sensor drift and sensitivity. Most of we have outlined thee-nose technology and its major contribu-
the recent reported studies to evaluate and determine medicinal tions relevant to the most published fields within the medicinal
qualities of aromatic plants using an e-nose system, utilize single- and aromatic plants and products. It has been shown that artificial
modality sensing systems for odor characterization. Recent trends olfactory systems have potential for use as innovative, rapid and
to overcome sensor shortcomings include combining several types specific non-destructive technique, and may provide a method to
of gas sensors. While complicating the sampling system (requir- protect medicinal plant products against adulteration. This paper
ing more bulk and electronics), this hybrid technology, introduced provides a critical outlook on the developments needed in this field
by Loutfi et al. (2015), is able to compensate for the shortcomings for transitioning from research platforms to industrial instruments
in current chemical sensor technology. On the other hand, in some applied in real contexts. It is noted that e-nose systems cannot pro-
medicinal plant materials, not only odor, is quality attribute but also vide complete information on the medicinal and aromatic plants.
color, size, texture and taste can play their roles to achieve a robust Quality indicators such as aroma, taste and color, and that com-
quality authentication method. Because e-nose techniques cannot bination of different approaches may provide a robust method for
obtain complete information on the raw material quality indicators, real-time monitoring of product quality. In this regard, richer infor-
combination of different approaches such as e-nose, spectroscopy mation is obtained to improve the capability of the system. With
methods, Computer Vision System (CVS), and electronic tongue (e- regard to the advantages of e-nose, e-tongue and CVS, it is hoped
tongue) would form an effective method for quality authentication that these systems would be employed in a fusion approach in
of medicinal an aromatic plants. Results achieved by integrated medicinal and aromatic plant quality evaluation in the near future.
attributes information certainly would be more precise and com- However, advanced chemometric tools should be included in the
plete than the single measurement using an e-nose system. Fig. 4 system to analyze the data gathered. Generally, the efforts in estab-
shows an example of fusion technique which includes e-nose sys- lishing real-time odor-taste- image-based quality monitoring tools
tem as well as complementary technique such as e-tongue, CVS, for the medicinal plants industry should be carried out for rapid,
ultrasonic tester, etc. The complementary technique could involve reliable, in-line monitoring, and easily applicable approaches with
two or three such methods. the feasibility of smart feedback control procedures. This idea is
Data fusion techniques can combine data obtained from differ- being implemented for saffron quality assessment and monitoring
ent sources. The main objective of employing fusion techniques is to as a robust and real-time technique.
S. Kiani et al. / Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 3 (2016) 1–9 7

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