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Analysis of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds Using Solid Phase Microextraction Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

Mya Brown
Mya Brown
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Analytical Seminar

Microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) like ketones, alcohols, terpenes, and terpene derivatives are primary and secondary metabolites of fungi and bacteria1 . Indoor environments with varying amounts of humidity, lack of light, oxygen, and carbon dioxide create the breeding ground for MVOCs. Prolonged human exposure to MVOCs has been directly associated with sick building syndrome (SBS), respiratory irritation, and asthma-like symptoms1 . The need to extract and quantify these MVOCs in human serum to correlate exposure of MVOCs is necessary for early detection in indoor environments. In 1989, Pawliszyn designed a simple and efficient sample preparation method by the name of solid phase microextraction (SPME). SPME allows extraction, concentration, derivatization, and transfer to the chromatograph in one step. It can be widely used in various fields for a variety of applications, but most used for environmental and food applications. SPME is solventless and decreases the time necessary for sample preparation while also decreasing sample cost. It is comparable to other extraction methods in that is detects down to the low part-per-billion limit of detection. It is most suitable for mass spectrometry applications. Using SPME GC-MS for the quantification of these MVOCs in human serum will allow high throughput analysis to help with investigations of unhealthy exposures to microbial emissions.

[1] Wazeerud-Din, I. J., Silva, L. K., Smith, M. M., Newman, C. A., Blount, B. C., & De Jesús, V. R. (2021). Quantification of seven microbial volatile organic compounds in human serum by solidphase microextraction gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Chemosphere, 266, 128970.

[2] Vas, G., & Vékey, K. (2004). Solid-phase microextraction: A powerful sample preparation tool prior to mass spectrometric analysis [Abstract]. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 39(3), 233-254.

[3] Pawliszyn J. (2000). Theory of solid-phase microextraction. Journal of chromatographic science, 38(7), 270–278.

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