Our breath may be as unique as our fingerprint. Compounds in exhaled air produce a unique and stable molecular autograph or “breathprint” – one that could be used to monitor disease or track response to medication. Our genomes are unique, our epigenomes are unique, our microbiomes are unique, so it is not surprising our breath metabolomes are also unique. What is important is how they vary from individual to individual and how they differ in relation to development of disease or in response to therapy.
More About Breath Print
- Human breath contains a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Accurate detection of specific VOCs in exhaled breath can provide essential information for the early diagnosis of diseases.
- For example, acetone, H2S, ammonia, and toluene can be used to evaluate diabetes, halitosis, kidney malfunction, and lung cancer, respectively.
- VOCs originate from the molecular exchange between lung tissue and blood.
- Further, our gastrointestinal (GI) track plays a crucial role in water metabolism in the body. Water exists in nature as four isotopes. It is believed that any kind of impaired or unusual water absorption in our GI tract may be associated with various gastric disorders or abnormalities like ulcer, gastritis, erosions and inflammation. But so far there has been no clear experimental evidence to support this.
- The non-invasive diagnosis of various diseases is the key advantage of exhaled breath analysis techniques over other commonly used methods.
- The use of multi-sensor arrays with nanostructured semiconductor metal oxides is essential for developing inexpensive and simple diagnostic tools for examining the concentration of VOCs in exhaled breath.
- The sensor arrays are advantageous in terms of gas adsorption, leading to large resistance changes achieved by high specific surface area and porous nanostructure.