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Anal Chem. 2006 May 1;78(9):3046-54.

Development of a multibed sorption trap, comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography, and time-of-flight mass spectrometry system for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in human breath.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, and Department of Chemistry, University of Girona, 17071-Girona, Spain.


A method for the determination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at sub-trace levels in breath samples based on a multibed sorption trap for the collection and concentration of VOCs, a comprehensive multidimensional gas chromatograph (GCxGC) for the separation of complex mixtures, and a time-of-flight mass spectrometer detector is designed and developed. The good performance of the trap tube device developed for the concentration together with the high sensitivity and separation power of the GCxGC results in a powerful system. In the analysis of samples, more than 100 different compounds are detected of which between 65 and 85 are clearly identified. A total of approximately 250 different compounds are observed in all the samples evaluated of which 142 are identified. A preliminary study to evaluate breath biomarkers for active smoking is performed. The levels of previously described biomarkers are found to be strongly time-dependent with amounts found approximately 1 h after smoking returning to the levels found in nonsmoking volunteers. However, 2,5-dimethylfuran, 2-methylfuran, and furan are found to be effective biomarkers given that they were only found in samples taken from smokers and could still be detected more than 2 h after smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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