A taste sensor with lipid/polymer membranes can objectively evaluate taste. As previ-ously reported, caffeine can be detected electrically using lipid/polymer membranes modified with hydroxybenzoic acids (HBAs). However, a systematic understanding of how HBAs contribute to caffeine detection is still lacking. In this study, we used various HBAs such as 2,6–dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,6–DHBA) to modify lipid/polymer membranes, and we detected caffeine using a taste sensor with the modified membranes. The effect of the concentrations of the HBAs on caffeine detection was also discussed. The results of the caffeine detection indicated that the response to caffeine and the reference potential measured in a reference solution were affected by the log P and pKa of HBAs. Furthermore, the taste sensor displayed high sensitivity to caffeine when the reference potential was adjusted to an appropriate range by modification with 2,6–DHBA, where the slope of the change in reference potential with increasing 2,6–DHBA concentration was steep. This is helpful in order to improve the sensitivity of taste sensors to other taste substances, such as theophylline and theobromine, in the future.
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