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J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 1999 Jun 11;729(1-2):75-88.

Variation in volatile organic compounds in the breath of normal humans.

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Menssana Research, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, USA.


We studied the variation in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath of 50 normal humans, using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. An average breath sample contained 204.2 VOCs (SD=19.8, range 157-241). The alveolar gradient of each VOC (abundance in breath minus abundance in air) varied with rate of synthesis minus rate of clearance. A total of 3481 different VOCs were observed: 1753 with positive alveolar gradients, 1728 with negative alveolar gradients. Twenty-seven VOCs were observed in all fifty subjects. This study confirmed previous reports of wide inter-individual variations. Two new findings were the comparatively small variation in total number of breath VOCs, and the presence of a 'common core' of breath VOCs in all subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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