Relationship between the amount of bitter substances adsorbed onto lipid/polymer membrane and the electric response of taste sensors

Kiyoshi Toko, Daichi Hara, Yusuke Tahara, Masato Yasuura, Hidekazu Ikezaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The bitterness of bitter substances can be measured by the change in the membrane electric potential caused by adsorption (CPA) using a taste sensor (electronic tongue). In this study, we examined the relationship between the CPA value due to an acidic bitter substance and the amount of the bitter substance adsorbed onto lipid/polymer membranes, which contain different lipid contents, used in the taste sensor. We used iso-α-acid which is an acidic bitter substance found in several foods and beverages. The amount of adsorbed iso-α-acid, which was determined by spectroscopy, showed a maximum at the lipid concentration 0.1 wt % of the membrane, and the same phenomenon was observed for the CPA value. At the higher lipid concentration, however, the amount adsorbed decreased and then remained constant, while the CPA value decreased monotonically to zero. This constant adsorption amount was observed when the membrane potential in the reference solution did not change with increasing lipid concentration. The decrease in CPA value in spite of the constant adsorption amount is caused by a decrease in the sensitivity of the membrane as the surface charge density increases. The reason why the peaks appeared in both the CPA value and adsorption amount is based on the contradictory adsorption properties of iso-α-acid. The increasing charged lipid concentration of the membrane causes an increasing electrostatic attractive interaction between iso-α-acid and the membrane, but simultaneously causes a decreasing hydrophobic interaction that results in decreasing adsorption of iso-α-acid, which also has hydrophobic properties, onto the membrane. Estimates of the amount of adsorption suggest that iso-α-acid molecules are adsorbed onto both the surface and interior of the membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16274-16286
Number of pages13
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between the amount of bitter substances adsorbed onto lipid/polymer membrane and the electric response of taste sensors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this