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Device, System and relating Method for the quantitative Assessment of Taste Sensitivity

Prof. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa, University of Cagliari; Prof. Roberto Massimo Crnjar, University of Cagliari; Prof. Giorgia Sollai, University of Cagliari; Dr Melania Melis, University of Cagliari; Prof. Danilo Pani, University of Cagliari; Prof. Piero Cosseddu, University of Cagliari; Prof. Annalisa Bonfiglio, University of Cagliari

University of Cagliari, Industrial Liaison Office


The invention implements an individual quantitative and objective assessment of gustatory sensitivity that can find application, in particular, in medical fields, where early detection could be a very important way to prevent a negative evolution of diseases. The invention can be useful in analyses related to some diseases related to the degradation of taste function, as well as neurological disorders or other diseases (e.g. the Covid-19 infection). The simple method could be useful for helping doctors in the diagnosis and monitoring the taste degradation which can be temporary (as in the case of the Covid19), or gradual (as in other serious neurodegenerative diseases, eg. Parkinson’s disease).


The invention is designed to be reusable by replacing only a part in our low-cost handheld recording unit (already developed). It is composed of a device, a system, and the relating method that allows measuring directly and objectively the degree of activation of the peripheric gustatory system. The invention enables the registration of the bio-potentials resulting from the response of stimulated taste cells with a taste stimulus.

Commercial Opportunity

The invention is easy-to-use and low-cost disposable, and it can be implemented in uses related to Biomarker for neurodegenerative diseases; Biomarker for other health problems; Applications in dietary products, Physiology studies. The invention offers a technology exploitable for commercial purposes for companies to develop practical diagnostic kits that can be used in rapid clinical tests for the objective evaluation of taste, from the most widespread neurological disturbances to symptoms of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Development Status

Currently, the invention is a functioning prototype, but the final device should be conceived as composed of an electrode, designed to be disposable, as it is intended to carry out customized investigations on the individual subject, and by a low-cost handheld measurement system, also including the actual electronic instrumentation, which instead has a longer life-cycle, equal to several years.

Patent Situation

The Italian patent and the European patent have been granted.

Further Reading

Giorgia Sollai, Melania Melis, Danilo Pani, Piero Cosseddu, Ilenia Usai, Roberto Crnjar, Annalisa Bonfiglio and Iole Tomassini Barbarossa, “First objective evaluation of taste sensitivity to 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP), a paradigm gustatory stimulus in humans”, Sci. Rep. 7, 40353; DOI: 10.1038/srep40353 (2017).

Danilo Pani, Ilenia Usai, Piero Cosseddu, Melania Melis, Giorgia Sollai, Roberto Crnjar, Iole Tomassini Barbarossa, Luigi Raffo, Annalisa Bonfiglio, "An automated system for the objective evaluation of human gustatory sensitivity using tongue biopotential recordings", PLoS ONE, 12(8),e0177246 (2017).

G. Sollai, M. Melis, M. Mastinu, D. Pani, P. Cosseddu, A. Bonfiglio, R. Crnjar, B.J. Tepper and I.Tomassini Barbarossa, “Human Tongue Electrophysiological Response to Oleic Acid and Its Associations with PROP Taster Status and the CD36 Polymorphism (rs1761667)”, Nutrients, 315; doi:10.3390/nu11020315 (2019).

Mastinu M, Melis M, Sollai G, Tomassini Barbarossa I. The electrophysiological response of the human tongue to oleic acid is affected by CD36 polymorphism (rs1761667). SINS Neuroscenze – Napoli (2019).

Melis, M; Sollai, G; Pani, D; Cosseddu, P; Crnjar, R; Bonfiglio, A, Tomassini Barbarossa I. Electrophysiological recordings from the tongue for the objective evaluation of individual variations of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) sensitivity. In Chemical Senses - ISSN:0379-864X vol. 41 (9). (2017)


Device, System and relating Method for the quantitative Assessment of Taste Sensitivity