University of Leicester
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Breath analysis by two-dimensional gas chromatography with dual flame ionisation and mass spectrometric detection - Method optimisation and integration within a large-scale clinical study.

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posted on 2019-09-23, 16:31 authored by MJ Wilde, RL Cordell, D Salman, B Zhao, W Ibrahim, L Bryant, D Ruszkiewicz, A Singapuri, RC Free, EA Gaillard, C Beardsmore, CLP Thomas, CE Brightling, S Siddiqui, PS Monks
Precision medicine has spurred new innovations in molecular pathology leading to recent advances in the analysis of exhaled breath as a non-invasive diagnostic tool. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected in exhaled breath have the potential to reveal a wealth of chemical and metabolomic information. This study describes the development of a method for the analysis of breath, based on automated thermal desorption (TD) combined with flow modulated comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC) with dual flame ionisation and quadrupole mass spectrometric detection (FID and qMS). The constrained optimisation and analytical protocol was designed to meet the practical demands of a large-scale multi-site clinical study, while maintaining analytical rigour to produce high fidelity data. The results demonstrate a comprehensive method optimisation for the collection and analysis of breath VOCs by GC×GC, integral to the standardisation and integration of breath analysis within large clinical studies.


Research funding was provided by the Medical Reseach Council (MRC) and Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Stratified Medicine Grant for Molecular Pathology Nodes (Grant No. MR/N005880/1). The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR Leicester Clinical Research Facility to whom we are extremely grateful. The children’s component of this study is supported by The Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA), (Grant No. MR/N005880/1). The authors would like to acknowledge the invaluable efforts of the research nurses responsible for the in-clinic sample collection as well as the input from the wider EMBER consortium (Members list can be found at: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS and NIHR or the Department of Health.



Journal of Chromatography A, 2019, 1594, pp. 160-172

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Journal of Chromatography A





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