The electronic nose contributes, together with other chemical analyses, to identify botanical and geographical origin of honey. Two different honey samples were analysed: Italian Sainfoin (Sulla coronaria (L.) Medik.) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.). Aromatic profiles were evaluated using an electronic nose with a sensor array made up of 10 metal oxide semiconductor sensors (MOS). The maximum value for each sensor was used to plot data on a radar graph and for Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The PCA plot revealed a clear separation of samples.
A complementary analysis of the volatile species in honeys was carried out using the head space solid phase microextraction coupled to gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (HS-SPME-GC-MS) and the chemical profile of each sample was derived. Chemical data were compared to the results obtained with the electronic nose and confirmed the assignment of the different unifloral samples.
The results showed that the electronic nose, combined with chemical identification of the volatile species, allows to classify and discriminate the different types of honey and to assign them to groups that have similar taste and aroma characteristics.