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Extending breath analysis to the cellular level: current thoughts on the human microbiome and the expression of organic compounds in the human exposome
Pleil, J., W. Miekisch, M. Stiegel, AND J. Beauchamp. Extending breath analysis to the cellular level: current thoughts on the human microbiome and the expression of organic compounds in the human exposome. Journal of Breath Research. Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, Uk, 8(2):029001, (2014).
The National Exposure Research Laboratory’s (NERL’s) Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division (HEASD) conducts research in support of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. HEASD’s research program supports Goal 1 (Clean Air) and Goal 4 (Healthy People) of EPA’s strategic plan. More specifically, our division conducts research to characterize the movement of pollutants from the source to contact with humans. Our multidisciplinary research program produces Methods, Measurements, and Models to identify relationships between and characterize processes that link source emissions, environmental concentrations, human exposures, and target-tissue dose. The impact of these tools is improved regulatory programs and policies for EPA.
Human biomarkers are comprised of compounds from cellular metabolism, oxidative stress, and the microbiome of bacteria in the gut, genitourinary, and pulmonary tracts. When we examine patterns in human biomarkers to discern human health state or diagnose specific diseases, it is important to under stand which compounds are indeed representative of human metabolism. Inversely, if we are diagnosing an infectious state, then the “fingerprints” of specific pathogens become the important signal. This was the focus of talks by some members of the International Association of Breath Research (IABR) at the PittCon 2014 Conference and Exposition (www.PittCon.org) in Chicago, Illinois during the week of March 1-6. The PittCon meetings have not traditionally included a breath research component, as they are a broad gathering of (mostly) analytical chemists that focus on instrumentation; the attendance is generally around 20,000 conferees, and there are 1,000 or more commercial exhibitors. It has only been in the past five years that breath research has become a regular feature at PittCon meetings.