Evaluating High-Capacity Sorptive Extraction (HiSorb) to assess volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as biomarkers related to respiratory disease and liver impairment in culture media

Alexandra Martin 1, Antonio Murgia 1, Yusuf Ahmed 1, Olga Gandelman 1, Agnieszka Smolinska 1,2, Giuseppe Ferrandino 1, Max Allsworth 1, Rachael Szafnauer 3 and Benjamin Yeo 3

1.Owlstone Medical, 183 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0GJ, UK. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. 3. Markes International Ltd, 1000B Central Park, Western Avenue, Bridgend, CF31 3RT, UK.

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Headspace sampling is a simple and elegant method for volatile organic compound (VOC) extraction, which has been successfully used in this study to detect and quantify biomarkers for respiratory disease and liver impairment. Key analytes such as aldehydes, alkanes and ketones have been collected using high-capacity sorptive extraction (HiSorb) technology, and by use of thermal desorption (TD) coupled with gas chromatography (GC) separation and mass spectrometry (MS) analysis, we have optimised the detection of these biomarkers from culture media samples. HiSorb technology allows for the extraction and analysis of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and the Centri platform fully-automates sample extraction and desorption, improving laboratory productivity and analytical sensitivity. Analyte preconcentration and cryogen-free trapping technology is optimised for low-level compounds of interest in complex sample types. By taking advantage of these techniques, we have used HiSorb and Centri to extract VOCs from the headspace of different sample types for analysis, and overcome complex challenges, enabling the detection of biomarkers. We have been able to achieve reliable detection below 1 ng for exogenous VOCs for liver disease monitoring and VOCs related to lung damage. Owlstone Medical, in collaboration with Markes, has applied HiSorb and Centri to develop headspace analytical methods for the detection of volatile biomarkers, putting us much closer to breath-based diagnostics for lung disease and liver impairment.




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