Many plants originating from the Asteraceae family are applied as herbal medicines and also beverage ingredients in Asian areas, particularly in China. However, they may be confused due to their similar odor, especially when ground into powder, losing their typical macroscopic characteristics. In this paper, 11 different multiple mathematical algorithms, which are commonly used in data processing, were utilized and compared to analyze the electronic nose (E-nose) response signals of different plants from Asteraceae family. Results demonstrate that three-dimensional plot scatter figure of principal component analysis with less extracted components could offer the identification results more visually; simultaneously, all nine kinds of artificial neural network could give classification accuracies at 100%. This paper presents a rapid, accurate, and effective method to distinguish Asteraceae plants based on their response signals in E-nose. It also gives insights to further studies, such as to find unique sensors that are more sensitive and exclusive to volatile components in Chinese herbal medicines and to improve the identification ability of E-nose. Screening sensors made by other novel materials would be also an interesting way to improve identification capability of E-nose. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC.

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