Investigating the relationship between breath aerosol size and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) metabolomic content

Alexander J. Schmidt, Eva Borras, Nicholas Kenyon, Cristina E. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Exhaled breath aerosols contain valuable metabolomic content due to gas exchange with blood at the alveolar capillary interface in the lung. Passive and selective filtering of these aerosols and droplets may reduce the amount of saliva contaminants and serve as an aid to enhance targeted metabolomic content when sampled in exhaled breath condensate (EBC). It is currently unknown if breath aerosol size distribution affects the types or abundances of metabolites sampled through EBC. This pilot study uses a previously described hand-held human breath sampler device with varying notch filter geometries to redirect the trajectory of breath aerosols based on size. Ten notch filter lengths were simulated with the device to calculate the effect of filter length on the breath aerosol size distribution and the proportion of aerosols which make their way through to an EBC collection tube. From three notch filter lengths, we investigate metabolite content of various aerosol fractions. We analyzed the non-volatile fraction of breath condensate with high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for broad metabolite coverage. We hypothesize that: (1) increasing the length of the notch filter in this device will prevent larger aerosols from reaching the collection tube thus altering the breath aerosol size distribution sampled in EBC; and (2) there is not a systematic large-scale difference in EBC metabolomic content that correlates with breath aerosol size. From simulation results, particles typically larger than 10 µm were filtered out. This indicates that a longer notch filter in this device prevents larger particles from reaching the collection tube thus altering the aerosol particle size distribution. Most compounds were commonly present in all three filter lengths tested, and we did not see strong statistical evidence of systematic metabolite differences between breath aerosol size distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47104
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of breath research
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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