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PLoS One. 2016 Mar 2;11(3):e0150481. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150481. eCollection 2016.

Collecting Protein Biomarkers in Breath Using Electret Filters: A Preliminary Method on New Technical Model and Human Study.

Li W1, Pi X1,2, Qiao P1, Liu H1,3.

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Key Laboratory of Biorheology Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, College of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, PR China.
Key Laboratories for National Defense Science and Technology of Innovative Micro-Nano Devices and System Technology, Chongqing University, Chongqing, PR China.
Chongqing Engineering Research Center of Medical Electronics, Chongqing, PR China.


Biomarkers in exhaled breath are useful for respiratory disease diagnosis in human volunteers. Conventional methods that collect non-volatile biomarkers, however, necessitate an extensive dilution and sanitation processes that lowers collection efficiencies and convenience of use. Electret filter emerged in recent decade to collect virus biomarkers in exhaled breath given its simplicity and effectiveness. To investigate the capability of electret filters to collect protein biomarkers, a model that consists of an atomizer that produces protein aerosol and an electret filter that collects albumin and carcinoembryonic antigen-a typical biomarker in lung cancer development- from the atomizer is developed. A device using electret filter as the collecting medium is designed to collect human albumin from exhaled breath of 6 volunteers. Comparison of the collecting ability between the electret filter method and other 2 reported methods is finally performed based on the amounts of albumin collected from human exhaled breath. In conclusion, a decreasing collection efficiency ranging from 17.6% to 2.3% for atomized albumin aerosol and 42% to 12.5% for atomized carcinoembryonic antigen particles is found; moreover, an optimum volume of sampling human exhaled breath ranging from 100 L to 200 L is also observed; finally, the self-designed collecting device shows a significantly better performance in collecting albumin from human exhaled breath than the exhaled breath condensate method (p<0.05) but is not significantly more effective than reported 3-stage impactor method (p>0.05). In summary, electret filters are potential in collecting non-volatile biomarkers in human exhaled breath not only because it was simpler, cheaper and easier to use than traditional methods but also for its better collecting performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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