Human taste receptor-functionalized field effect transistor as a human-like nanobioelectronic tongue

Hyun Seok Song, Oh Seok Kwon, Sang Hun Lee, Seon Joo Park, Un Kyung Kim, Jyongsik Jang, Tai Hyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


In this study, we developed a human taste receptor protein, hTAS2R38-functionalized carboxylated polypyrrole nanotube (CPNT)-field effect transistor (FET) as a nanobioelectronic tongue (nbe-tongue) that displayed human-like performance with high sensitivity and selectivity. Taster type (PAV) and nontaster type (AVI) hTAS2R38s were expressed in Escherichia coli (E. coli) at a high level and immobilized on a CPNT-FET sensor platform. Among the various tastants examined, PAV-CPNT-FET exclusively responded to target bitterness compounds, phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and propylthiouracil (PROP), with high sensitivity at concentrations as low as 1 fM. However, no significant changes were observed in the AVI-CPNT-FET in response to the target bitter tastants. This nbe-tongue exhibited different bitter-taste perception of compounds containing thiourea (N-C-S) moieties such as PTC, PROP, and antithyroid toxin in vegetables, which corresponded to the haplotype of hTAS2R38 immobilized on CPNTs. This correlation with the type of receptor is very similar to the human taste system. Thus, the artificial taste sensor developed in this study allowed for the efficient detection of target tastants in mixture and real food sample with a human-like performance and high sensitivity. Furthermore, our nbe-tongue could be utilized as a substitute for cell-based assays and to better understand the mechanisms of human taste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 9 Jan 2013


  • Human taste receptor
  • antithyroid toxin
  • conducting polymer
  • field-effect transistor
  • nanobioelectronic tongue
  • nanotube


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