Research & Teaching Faculty

Online mass spectrometry of exhaled breath with a modified ambient ion source

TitleOnline mass spectrometry of exhaled breath with a modified ambient ion source
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsGeng, X, Zhang, K, Li, H, Chen, DDY
KeywordsDART-MS, Human exhaled breath, Online breath analysis, VOC quantitation

Exhaled breath (EB) may contain metabolites that are closely related to human health conditions. Real time analysis of EB is important to study its true composition, however, it has been difficult. A robust ambient ionization mass spectrometry method using a modified direct analysis in real time (DART) ion source was developed for the online analysis of breath volatiles. The modified DART ion source can provide a confined region for direct sampling, rapid transmission and efficient ionization of exhaled breath. With different sampling methods, offline analysis and near real-time evaluation of exhaled breath were also achieved, and their unique molecular features were characterized. High resolution MS data aided the putative metabolite identification in breath samples, resulting in hundreds of volatile organic compounds being identified in the exhalome. The method was sensitive enough to be used for monitoring the breath feature changes after taking different food and over-the-counter medicine. Quantification was performed for pyridine and valeric acid with fasting and after ingesting different food. The developed method is fast, simple, versatile, and potentially useful for evaluating the true state of human exhaled breath.