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Anal Biochem. 1996 Nov 1;242(1):129-35.

Concentrating breath samples using liquid nitrogen: a reliable method for the simultaneous determination of ethane and pentane.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.

Erratum in

  • Anal Biochem 1999 May 15;270(1):186.


The measurement of ethane and pentane in breath offers a sensitive and noninvasive means to assess in vivo lipid peroxidation in animals and humans. However, numerous technical obstacles inherent in collecting and concentrating air-breath samples have limited the wider application of these measurements for the assessment of in vivo lipid peroxidation. We have developed a relatively simple, inexpensive, rapid, and reliable method to collect, concentrate, and measure breath ethane and total-body pentane from rats. This method, which concentrates alkanes from 4 liters of collected air-breath on adsorbant cooled to -174 degrees C, was found to be superior to similar cryofocusing techniques at -130 degrees C, which fail to effectively trap highly volatile ethane from large volumes of air. We found ethane evolves predominantly through breath, whereas a significant amount of pentane evolves from sources other than breath. Mean evolution rate for ethane was 1.08 pmol/100 g body wt/min. Pentane evolution rates displayed more inter-rat and day-to-day variability with a mean of 0.52 pmol/100 g body wt/min. We also found that excreted rat feces exude large amounts of ethane and pentane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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