A versatile probe for chemoselective capture and analysis of carbonyl compounds in exhaled breath

Ralph J. Knipp, Mingxiao Li, Xiao An Fu, Michael H. Nantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


We describe an aminooxy reagent for the capture of trace aldehyde and ketone volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath. The reagent, 4-(2-aminooxyethyl)-morpholin-4-ium chloride (AMAH), when coated onto micropillars within a silicon microreactor, chemoselectively and covalently retains carbonyl VOCs from exhaled breath. The AMAH-carbonyl adducts are then eluted from the microreactor with methanol and directly analyzed by Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry (MS), where the aminium ion of the reagent enhances the sensitivity for high mass accuracy. We also outline a protocol for treatment of the AMAH-carbonyl adducts with poly(4-vinylpyridine) to afford the corresponding volatile carbonyl adducts that now can be analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). This convenient protocol imparts flexibility for the identification and quantification of isomeric VOCs using both FT-ICR-MS and GC-MS. Representative breath analyses are given to illustrate this applicability of AMAH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6027-6033
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Methods
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Engineering(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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