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Precision medicine has spurred new innovations in molecular pathology leading to recent advances in the analysis of exhaled breath as a non-invasive diagnostic tool. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected in exhaled breath have the potential to reveal a wealth of chemical and metabolomic information. This study describes the development of a method for the analysis of breath, based on automated thermal desorption (TD) combined with flow modulated comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC) with dual flame ionisation and quadrupole mass spectrometric detection (FID and qMS). The constrained optimisation and analytical protocol was designed to meet the practical demands of a large-scale multi-site clinical study, while maintaining analytical rigour to produce high fidelity data. The results demonstrate a comprehensive method optimisation for the collection and analysis of breath VOCs by GC×GC, integral to the standardisation and integration of breath analysis within large clinical studies.

Original publication




Journal article


J Chromatogr A

Publication Date





160 - 172


Breath analysis, Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography, Flow modulation, GC×GC, Metabolomics, Precision medicine, Breath Tests, Clinical Studies as Topic, Flame Ionization, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, Humans, Reference Standards, Volatile Organic Compounds