Artificial Intelligence to predict the taste of foods

Title of the research project

VIRTUOUS - Virtual tongue to predIct the oRganoleptic profile of mediterranean IngredienTs and their effect on hUman hOmeostasis by means of an integrated compUtational multiphysicS platform

Scientific area 

Machine Learning, Data Mining, Bioengineering


VIRTUOUS project will allow researcher’s exchange programs to develop models able to predict food organoleptic profile from its chemical composition.

Description of the research project 

Food molecular composition influences its organoleptic properties (appearance, color, shape, scent, taste, compactness) and consequently our perception as more or less tasty food. Moreover, this perception often helps to distinguish and choose healthy food. The organoleptic properties are the outcome of a cascade of processes in our body, starting from receptors located on our tongue through the elaboration of multiple signals arriving to our brain.

How to simulate such a complex process?

VIRTUOUS will use methods like artificial intelligence, data mining, complex models at molecular or cellular level, bioinformatics to predict the effect of a food on our sensory system, mostly concentrating on typical Mediterranean foods like wine and oil.

The project will allow knowledge and competence exchange between researchers in the academia, in research centers and partner industrial companies, contributing to empower a collaborative multidisciplinary research network, both international and intersectorial.

Impact on researcher’s career and on society 

Researchers involved into the project will develop new multidisciplinary competences being exposed to different research environments both in fundamental and applied research, in academia and private sector, developing a broader viewpoint which is a benefit for their career.

The project will also help companies in the agro-food sector to functionalize foods and beverages, in precision farming and also support medical doctors in identifying diets able to act at cellular level combining tasty and healthy foods.

More generally, VIRTUOUS objective is to develop healthy and equilibrate lifestyles to improve citizen’s well-being.

Working group @Polito 

Marco Agostino Deriu – Full professor (project coordinatore)

Jacek Adam Tuszynski – Full professor 

Umberto Morbiducci – Full professor 

Marco Cavaglià – PostDoc researcher

Lorenzo Pallante – Ph.D Student

Gloria Ciniero – Ph.D Student

Eric Zizzi – Ph.D Student

Michela Sperti - Research Trainee

Marcello Miceli – Research Trainee

Marta Malavolta - Research Trainee

List of beneficiary organizations hosting researchers

Missing Tech Sagl, Swizerland

Enginlife-Engineering Solutions, Italy

Insybio P.C., Greece

Universidad de Granada, Spain

San Sebastian, Sca , Spain

Scuola Universitaria Professionale Della Svizzera Italiana, Swizerland

Industrial Systems Institute (ISI) | Athena Research Center

The VIRTUOUS project has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Grant Agreement No. 872181

  • Budget: 1.108.600 euro
  • Start date: 1/12/2019
  • End date: 30/11/2023