Exhaled breath condensate methods adapted from human studies using longitudinal metabolomics for predicting early health alterations in dolphins

Eva Borras, Alexander A. Aksenov, Mark Baird, Brittany Novick, Michael Schivo, Konstantin O. Zamuruyev, Alberto Pasamontes, Celeste Parry, Soraya Foutouhi, Stephanie Venn-Watson, Bart C Weimer, Cristina E Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Monitoring health conditions is essential to detect early asymptomatic stages of a disease. To achieve this, blood, urine and breath samples are commonly used as a routine clinical diagnostic. These samples offer the opportunity to detect specific metabolites related to diseases and provide a better understanding of their development. Although blood samples are commonly used routinely to monitor health, the implementation of a relatively noninvasive technique, such as exhaled breath condensate (EBC) analysis, may further benefit the well-being of both humans and other animals. EBC analysis can be used to track possible physical or biochemical alterations caused by common diseases of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), such as infections or inflammatory-mediated processes. We have used an untargeted metabolomic method with liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of EBC samples to determine biomarkers related to disease development. In this study, five dolphins under human care were followed up for 1 year. We collected paired blood, physical examination information, and EBC samples. We then statistically correlated this information to predict specific health alterations. Three dolphins provided promising case study information about biomarkers related to cutaneous infections, respiratory infections, dental disease, or hormonal changes (pregnancy). The use of complementary liquid chromatography platforms, with hydrophilic interaction chromatography and reverse-phased columns, allowed us to detect a wide spectrum of EBC biomarker compounds that could be related to these health alterations. Moreover, these two analytical techniques not only provided complementary metabolite information but in both cases they also provided promising diagnostic information for these health conditions. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6523-6536
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Breath analysis
  • Exhaled breath condensate
  • Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry
  • Longitudinal study
  • Metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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