I’ve spent a lot of this week going through the kitchen and tossing anything that looks like it’s past its expiration date.

But there’s a more precise way to know what’s still good and what isn’t, and it’s thanks to an electronic tongue.

You might remember that we did a show about an e-tongue way back in 2019.

That one was designed to measure the spiciness of different foods.

The idea was that an electronic sensor would be able to keep going even after a human tongue started feeling spice fatigue.

This new e-tongue is also from the lab of Carolyn Ross at Washington State University, but it has a different job.

This one is for testing wine, specifically to test for the compounds that start to develop when wine is starting to go bad.

Right now the most common ways winemakers check for spoilage are to have people sniff the wine and to take wine samples and grow microbes in a petri dish.

The WSU team did an experiment where they deliberately added some microbes to white wine to speed up the spoiling process.

Then they tested the wine for signs of spoilage using their creation as well as through the traditional methods.

The sniffing and petri dish methods spotted signs of contamination about five weeks after the wine had started to spoil.

The electronic tongue spotted those same signs in just one week.

That can help keep wine drinkers away from drinks that won’t be very good for them.

And it could help winemakers spot problems in the process sooner than ever before, a development that pretty much everybody can drink to.

This weekend in Mansfield, Indiana, it’s the Mansfield Mushroom Festival.

There will be food trucks and a car show, plus mushroom hunters can look for some elusive wild mushrooms.

Or you can just buy them at the festival’s mushroom auction.

E-tongue can detect white wine spoilage before humans can (Washington State University)

Mansfield Mushroom Festival 

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Photo by Michel Renouleau via Flickr/Creative Commons