Exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have aroused considerable interest, since they can serve as biomarkers for disease diagnosis and environmental exposure in a non-invasive manner. In this work, we present a protocol to characterize the exhaled VOCs in real time by using secondary nanoelectrospray ionization coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (Sec-nanoESI-HRMS). The homemade Sec-nanoESI source was readily set up based on a commercial nanoESI source. Hundreds of peaks were observed in the background-subtracted mass spectra of exhaled breath, and the mass accuracy values are -4.0-13.5 ppm and -20.3-1.3 ppm in the positive and negative ion detection modes, respectively. The peaks were assigned with accurate elemental composition according to the accurate mass and isotopic pattern. Less than 30 s is used for one exhalation measurement, and it takes approximately 7 min for six replicated measurements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Medicine
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Chemical Engineering
- General Neuroscience