Design-of-experiment optimization of exhaled breath condensate analysis using a miniature differential mobility spectrometer (DMS)

Mary A. Molina, Weixiang Zhao, Shankar Sankaran, Michael Schivo, Nicholas Kenyon, Cristina E Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Analytical instruments that can measure small amounts of chemicals in complicated biological samples are often useful as diagnostic tools. However, it can be challenging to optimize these sensors using actual clinical samples, given the heterogeneous background and composition of the test materials. Here we use gas chromatography-differential mobility spectrometry (GC/DMS) to analyze the chemical content of human exhaled breath condensate (EBC). Ultimately, this system can be used for non-invasive disease diagnostics. Many parameters can be adjusted within this instrument system, and we implemented a factorial design-of-experiments to systematically test several combinations of parameter settings while concurrently analyzing effects and interactions. We examined four parameters that affect sensitivity and detection for our instrument, requiring a 24 factorial design. We optimized sensor function using EBC samples spiked with acetone, a known clinical biomarker in breath. Two outputs were recorded for each experiment combination: number of chemicals detected, and the amplitude of acetone signal. Our goal is to find the best parameter combination that yields the highest acetone peak while also preserving the largest number of other chemical peaks in the spectra. By optimizing the system, we can conduct further clinical experiments with our sensor more efficiently and accurately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 3 2008


  • Biosensor
  • Breath analysis
  • Design-of-experiments
  • Detection
  • Differential mobility spectrometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Chemistry


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