Bioanalysis Zone

Techniques and issues in breath and clinical sample headspace analysis for disease diagnosis


Analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from breath or clinical samples for disease diagnosis is an attractive proposition because it is noninvasive and rapid. There are numerous studies showing its potential, yet there are barriers to its development. Sampling and sample handling is difficult, and when coupled with a variety of analytical instrumentation, the same samples can give different results. Background air and the environment a person has been exposed to can greatly affect the VOCs emitted by the body; however, this is not an easy problem to solve. This review investigates the use of VOCs in disease diagnosis, the analytical techniques employed and the problems associated with sample handling and standardization. It then suggests the barriers to future development.

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