The electronic tongue based on an array of 30 non-specific potentiometric chemical sensors has been applied to qualitative and quantitative monitoring of a batch fermentation process of starting culture for light cheese production. Process control charts were built by using PLS regression and data from fermentations run under “normal” operating conditions. Control charts allow discrimination of samples from fermentation batches run under “abnormal” operating conditions from “normal” ones at as early as 30–50% of fully evolved fermentations. The capability of the electronic tongue to quantify concentrations of important organic acids (citric, lactic and orotic) in the present type of fermentation media was demonstrated. Average prediction errors were assessed in the range 5–13% based on test set validation. Correlation between peptide profiles determined using HPLC and the electronic tongue output was also established. The electronic tongue was demonstrated to be a promising tool for fermentation process monitoring and quantitative analysis of growth media.
Electronic tongue Fermentation monitoring Process control Determination of organic acids