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A sensor system obtains the fingerprint of essential oils and detects if they have been adulterated


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A sensor system obtains the fingerprint of essential oils and detects if they have been adulterated


A research team from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) - belonging to the IGIC Institute on the Gandia campus - has developed a new sensor system that allows obtaining the fingerprint of essential oils, identifying their origin and even if they have been adulterated.

So far they have applied it to the oils of a forest crop, specifically sticky rockrose, although it could be applied to other products. His work has been published in the magazines 'Sustanability' and 'Sensors'.

The group led by Jaime Lloret and formed by Sandra Sendra, José Miguel Jiménez, Lorena Parra, Sandra Viciano, Ali Ahmad, Francisco Javier Díaz, aims to identify through the use of sensor technology the state of maturity of a forestry crop.

The sticky rockrose produces a series of high-value biomaterials, the quantity and quality of which are affected by environmental conditions. "Our objective was to use low-cost sensors to detect the state of maturity of plants through the gases and volatile organic compounds that they emit in the natural environment," Jaime Lloret explains in a statement.

Using seven gas sensors, each designed to measure different types of gases, and combining their measurements with artificial intelligence, the system developed by this UPV team is capable of identifying different volatile organic compounds. "After generating a database with these sensors, applying artificial intelligence, we train the system so that it is capable of classifying or differentiating odors," adds Sandra Sendra.

The first application of this system was to differentiate rockrose oils from pine oil and rockrose oil adulterated with pine oil. And in their latest work, the team has been able to differentiate sticky rockrose essential oils with different quality.

The main advantages of this system are its low cost and ease of use. Currently, to differentiate between types of oils and, especially to quantify the chemical compounds present in them, complex chemical analyzes are used that require specialized personnel and equipment with a high level of maintenance.

"These analyzes are usually carried out by specialized companies and laboratories, which represents a high cost for companies that work with the oils and want to know their characteristics," declares Lloret.

The UPV team is currently working on the detection and quantification of specific molecules such as alpha-pinene, which is the main compound in the group of terpenic hydrocarbons.

"To do this, we are going to combine the use of sensors with multiple samples, whose concentration of chemical compounds are known to create a database. This data will be processed with more powerful artificial intelligence techniques than those that have been used until now. "adds Lorena Parra.

For the development and validation of this system, the UPV team has had the collaboration of the Madrid Institute of Rural, Agrarian and Food Research and Development (IMDIRA) and the Renewable Energy Development Center - Energy, Environmental and Research Center Technological (CEDER-CIEMAT).