• GC-MS equipment 'could detect diseases in breath'
    Human breath has its own unique identifiers, researchers suggest


GC-MS equipment 'could detect diseases in breath'

Mar 30 2010

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) machines are currently being used to develop methods of detecting diseases in a person's breath.

Researchers at the University of Maine in Orono stated exhalations are much like fingerprints, with everyone having unique markers, Wabi TV reports.

According to the news provider, the US Department of Defense is providing $500,000 (£331,000) for the project, which could help determine illnesses such as cancer.

Professor Touradj Solouki is leading the study and said the main difficulty is identifying the minute biomarkers that make up just one billionth of human breath.

"We're still at the very initial stages of research, but the hope is that a few years from now, it will be like a blood or urine analysis," he said.

The GC-MS equipment works using small sensors on the sides of a magnet that isolate the mass of separated molecules sent spinning through a magnetic field.

GC-MS was recently used by scientists at the Indiana University Bloomington to investigate the evolutionary development of two bird colonies in North America.

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