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[King2010] King, J.., P.. Mochalski, A.. Kupferthaler, K.. Unterkofler, H.. Koc, W.. Filipiak, S.. Teschl, H.. Hinterhuber, and A.. Amann, "Dynamic profiles of volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath as determined by a coupled PTR-MS/GC-MS study.", Physiol Meas, vol. 31, no. 9: University Clinic for Anesthesia, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstr. 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria., pp. 1169–1184, Sep, 2010.
In this phenomenological study we focus on dynamic measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath under exercise conditions. An experimental setup efficiently combining breath-by-breath analyses using proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) with data reflecting the behaviour of major hemodynamic and respiratory parameters is presented. Furthermore, a methodology for complementing continuous VOC profiles obtained by PTR-MS with simultaneous SPME/GC-MS measurements is outlined. These investigations aim at evaluating the impact of breathing patterns, cardiac output or blood pressure on the observed breath concentration and allow for the detection and identification of several VOCs revealing characteristic rest-to-work transitions in response to variations in ventilation or perfusion. Examples of such compounds include isoprene, methyl acetate, butane, DMS and 2-pentanone. In particular, both isoprene and methyl acetate exhibit a drastic rise in concentration shortly after the onset of exercise, usually by a factor of about 3-5 within approximately 1 min of pedalling. These specific VOCs might also be interpreted as potentially sensitive indicators for fluctuations of blood or respiratory flow and can therefore be viewed as candidate compounds for future assessments of hemodynamics, pulmonary function and gas exchange patterns via observed VOC behaviour.
[King2009] King, J.., A.. Kupferthaler, K.. Unterkofler, H.. Koc, S.. Teschl, G.. Teschl, W.. Miekisch, J.. Schubert, H.. Hinterhuber, and A.. Amann, "Isoprene and acetone concentration profiles during exercise on an ergometer.", J Breath Res, vol. 3, no. 2: A-6850 Dornbirn, Austria. Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, Hochschulstr. 1, A-6850 Dornbirn, Austria., pp. 027006, Jun, 2009.
A real-time recording setup combining exhaled breath volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) with hemodynamic and respiratory data is presented. Continuous automatic sampling of exhaled breath is implemented on the basis of measured respiratory flow: a flow-controlled shutter mechanism guarantees that only end-tidal exhalation segments are drawn into the mass spectrometer for analysis. Exhaled breath concentration profiles of two prototypic compounds, isoprene and acetone, during several exercise regimes were acquired, reaffirming and complementing earlier experimental findings regarding the dynamic response of these compounds reported by Senthilmohan et al (2000 Redox Rep. 5 151-3) and Karl et al (2001 J. Appl. Physiol. 91 762-70). While isoprene tends to react very sensitively to changes in pulmonary ventilation and perfusion due to its lipophilic behavior and low Henry constant, hydrophilic acetone shows a rather stable behavior. Characteristic (median) values for breath isoprene concentration and molar flow, i.e., the amount of isoprene exhaled per minute are 100 ppb and 29 nmol min(-1), respectively, with some intra-individual day-to-day variation. At the onset of exercise breath isoprene concentration increases drastically, usually by a factor of ?3-4 within about 1 min. Due to a simultaneous increase in ventilation, the associated rise in molar flow is even more pronounced, leading to a ratio between peak molar flow and molar flow at rest of ?11. Our setup holds great potential in capturing continuous dynamics of non-polar, low-soluble VOCs over a wide measurement range with simultaneous appraisal of decisive physiological factors affecting exhalation kinetics. In particular, data appear to favor the hypothesis that short-term effects visible in breath isoprene levels are mainly caused by changes in pulmonary gas exchange patterns rather than fluctuations in endogenous synthesis.

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Selected PTR-MS related Reviews

F. Biasioli, C. Yeretzian, F. Gasperi, T. D. Märk: PTR-MS monitoring of VOCs and BVOCs in food science and technology, Trends in Analytical Chemistry 30 (7) (2011).

J. de Gouw, C. Warneke, T. Karl, G. Eerdekens, C. van der Veen, R. Fall: Measurement of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Earth's Atmosphere using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 26 (2007), 223-257.

W. Lindinger, A. Hansel, A. Jordan: Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR–MS): on-line monitoring of volatile organic compounds at pptv levels, Chem. Soc. Rev. 27 (1998), 347-375.


Lists with PTR-MS relevant publications of the University of Innsbruck can be found here: Atmospheric and indoor air chemistry, IMR, Environmental Physics and Nano-Bio-Physics


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