No ambiguity: Chemosensory-based ayurvedic classification of medicinal plants can be fingerprinted using E-tongue coupled with multivariate statistical analysis
Background: Ayurveda, the indigenous medical system of India, has chemosensory property ( rasa ) as one of its major pharmacological metric. Medicinal plants have been classified in Ayurveda under six rasas /tastes—sweet, sour, saline, pungent, bitter and astringent. This study has explored for the first time, the use of Electronic tongue for studies of rasa -based classification of medicinal plants. Methods: Seventy-eight medicinal plants, belonging to five taste categories (sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent) were studied along with the reference taste standards (citric acid, hydrochloric acid, caffeine, quinine, L-alanine, glycine, β-glucose, sucrose, D-galactose, cellobiose, arabinose, maltose, mannose, lactose, xylose). The studies were carried out with the potentiometry-based Electronic tongue and the data was analysed using Principle Component Analysis, Discriminant Function Analysis, Taste Discrimination Analysis and Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy. Results: Chemosensory similarities were observed between taste standards and the plant samples–citric acid with sour group plants, sweet category plants with sucrose, glycine, β-glucose and D-galactose. The multivariate analyses could discriminate the sweet and sour, sweet and bitter, sweet and pungent, sour and pungent plant groups. Chemosensory category of plant (classified as unknown) could also be identified. Conclusion: This preliminary study has indicated the possibility of fingerprinting the chemosensory-based ayurvedic classification of medicinal plants using E-tongue coupled with multivariate statistical analysis.