Mar 13, 2014

Monitoring of selected skin-borne volatile markers of entrapped humans by selective reagent ionization time of flight mass spectrometry in NO+ mode

Analytical Chemistry
Pawel MochalskiA Amann


Selective reagent ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry with NO(+) as the reagent ion (SRI-TOF-MS (NO(+))) was applied for near real-time monitoring of selected skin-borne constituents which are potential markers of human presence. The experimental protocol involved a group of 10 healthy volunteers enclosed in a body plethysmography chamber mimicking the entrapment environment. A total of 12 preselected omnipresent in human scent volatiles were quantitatively monitored. Among them there were six aldehydes (n-propanal, n-hexanal, n-heptanal, n-octanal, n-nonanal, and 2 methyl 2-propenal), four ketones (acetone, 2-butanone, 3-buten-2-one, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one), one hydrocarbon (2-methyl 2-pentene), and one terpene (DL-limonene). The observed median emission rates ranged from 0.28 to 44.8 nmol × person(-1) × min(-1) (16-1530 fmol × cm(-2) × min(-1)). Within the compounds under study, ketones in general and acetone in particular exhibited the highest abundances. The findings of this study provide invaluable information about formation and evolution of a human-specific chemical fingerprint, which could be used for the early location of entrapped victims during urban search and rescue operations (USaR).

Mentioned in this Paper

Methylethyl ketone
Ketone Bodies Measurement, Quantitative
Acetone Measurement
Mass Spectrometry
Volatile Organic Compounds

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