Bioanalysis Zone

Fiber-enhanced Raman multi-gas spectroscopy: what is the potential of its application to breath analysis?

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The ancient Greek physicians were already aware that some diseases could be diagnosed from the characteristic odor of patients’ breath. For example – patients with liver failure present a fish-like smell, and a urine-like scent indicates renal failure [1]. The identification of breath compounds for noninvasive medical diagnosis has drawn increasing interest in recent years. Sniffer dogs were successfully trained for the identification of breath samples from lung cancer patients [2,3]. More than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been identified in normal human breath, and efforts were made for better understanding of complex VOCs patterns that appear in exhaled breath during specific physiological and pathophysiological processes [1,4,5]. For unambitious disease diagnosis and better understanding of the biochemical pathways, a thorough identification and quantification of the disease markers is essential. The editorial aims to highlight the potential of fiber-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (FERS) as an innovative technique for fast and painless point-of-care (POC) diagnosis of diseases in exhaled human breath. After a short review of some well-established analytical techniques for breath diagnosis, FERS is introduced as novel tool and discussed on some application examples.

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