Chemical analysis of exhaled breath metabolites is an emerging alternative to traditional clinical testing for many physiological conditions. The main advantage of breath analysis is its inherent non-invasive nature and ease of sample collection. Therefore, there exists a great interest in further development of this method for both humans and animals. The physiology of cetaceans is exceptionally well suited for breath analysis due to their explosive breathing behavior and respiratory tract morphology. At the present time, breath analysis in cetaceans has very limited practical applications, in large part due to lack of widely adopted sampling device(s) and methodologies that are well-standardized. Here, we present an optimized design and the operating principles of a portable apparatus for reproducible collection of exhaled breath condensate from small cetaceans, such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The device design is optimized to meet two criteria: standardized collection and preservation of information-rich metabolomic content of the biological sample, and animal comfort and ease of breath sample collection. The intent is to furnish a fully-benchmarked technology that can be widely adopted by researchers and conservationists to spur further developments of breath analysis applications for marine mammal health assessments.
- bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
- breath analysis
- breath sampling
- exhaled breath condensate (EBC)
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine