GAS Dortmund's Breathspec Analyzer for Testing Volatile Substances from Human Breath

The BreathSpec® consists of a Gas Chromatograph (GC) and an Ion Mobility Spectrometer (IMS) and is optimized for the sensitive detection of traces of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) directly in human breath.

The configuration of the BreathSpec® allows you to separate the high amount of moisture present in human breath by a GC column whilst still maintaining the extraordinary sensitivity of the IMS of the low ppbv-range for the relevant volatile organic substances that are used as markers for illnesses or toxic chemicals that have been inhaled by a human.

All parts and components that get into contact with the gas sample are temperature controlled achieving most defined analytical conditions and by this assuring reproducible results. This requisite and function allows at the same time carry out a cleaning of all gas carrying components in case the system becomes saturated or contaminated with VOCs.

Measurement results are available within a few minutes. An easy one-click menu enables the operation of the system even through a non-specialist. Manual or automatic operation modes as well as an automatic data acquisition plus as several straightforward software tools (plug-ins) for visualization and analysis make up the high flexibility of the system.

The sampling of the BreathSpec® is easy and reliable due to the integrated spirometer that besides providing valuable information regarding flow and CO2-/O2 concentrations triggers the measurement at adjustable but determined values in order to assure maximum reproducibility of the sampling.

Applications

Markers of Poisoning in Breath

Human Intoxication is a severe problem that requires early detection and immediate same as targeted medication. The customized GC-IMS set-up is a useful tool to quickly and reliably sample from human breath using and test for selected compounds.

Toxic alcohols (methanol, glycols) were used as prove of concept. The application will be developed further regarding the intake or exposure to toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) during the Horizont 2020 project ToxiTriage in which G.A.S. participates.

VOC markers in Human Breath

Various volatile compounds can be present in human breath depending on nutrition, metabolic state including diseases and medication, microbial infections and personal oral hygiene. Once authoritative validated their presence and concentration represent valuable information sources for early diagnosis or therapy control.

Several applications have been examined with scientific same as customer feasibility studies proving the power of this innovative non-invasive approach:

  • monitoring endogenous VOCs (e.g. aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, isoprene)
  • research on potential marker compounds for diseases / infections
  • measurement of drugs and their metabolites
  • drug efficiency in pharmacokinetics