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Tenth anniversary special issue of the Journal of Breath Research: looking forward
Pleil, J. Tenth anniversary special issue of the Journal of Breath Research: looking forward. Journal of Breath Research. Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, Uk, 12:010201, (2018).
The Journal of Breath Research has now reached its 10th anniversary of publication. From the general public’s perspective, breath analysis had always revolved around drinking and driving, and to some lesser extent pulmonary function testing of athletes. However, at the inception of the journal in 2007, the academic world had already been using breath analysis to measure exposures to volatile contaminants, to track anesthetics in surgery, diagnose preclinical disease state, and to assess metabolic processes with measurements of nitric oxide, acetone, isoprene and other endogenous gases. As a parallel to these applications, the dental community had developed extensive research in using bacterial odor emissions to assess the causes of halitosis (bad breath) and establish parameters to track the general health state of the oral cavity. As such, the field of breath research was expanding rapidly and the concept of human biomarker research had developed to include breath gas measurement in the mantra of “blood, breath, and urine” analysis. Certainly mainstream medical and public health studies were still fixated on blood and urine as traditional biological fluids, however, the value of the breath as a noninvasive window into the body’s function was becoming more attractive. The study of exhaled gases is still the main focus of breath research, but exhaled breath condensate and aerosols are also being used for diagnostics. Other topic areas are coming to the forefront to expand the field, especially the development of novel analytical instruments and sampling hardware applications.
The primary factor in developing breath research as a viable extension to blood and urine analysis was the evolution of high-tech analytical tools that were not previously available, especially in mass spectrometry and laser technology. Medical analyses were traditionally based on liquid samples (blood and urine) and had been developed into routine laboratory instruments for high-throughput in the hospital and clinical laboratory setting. The advent of breath-gas analysis, however, forced the paradigm shift into more sophisticated instrumentation. Now high-sensitivity gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) were necessary to tease out subtle changes in exhaled gases. A particularly valuable scientific development at these times was the focus on reactive, short-lived compounds that had always eluded standard blood and urine analyses; these were now accessible to real-time sampling and analysis methodology, most notably proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFTMS), ion mobility mass spectrometry (IMS), and a variety of novel optical techniques based on tunable diode lasers (TDL). In short, the unique demands of breath analysis were driving the development of high-end analytical instrumentation. This focus on technological development made the publisher Institute of Physics (IoP) a perfect match for the journal.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
EXPOSURE METHODS & MEASUREMENT DIVISION