Breath collection and analysis can be used to discover volatile biomarkers in a number of infectious and non-infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and liver disease. This protocol describes a reproducible method for sampling breath in children and then stabilizing breath samples for further analysis with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The goal of this method is to establish a standardized protocol for the acquisition of breath samples for further chemical analysis, from children aged 4-15 years. First, breath is sampled using a cardboard mouthpiece attached to a 2-way valve, which is connected to a 3 L bag. Breath analytes are then transferred to a thermal desorption tube and stored at 4-5 °C until analysis. This technique has been previously used to capture breath of children with malaria for successful breath biomarker identification. Subsequently, we have successfully applied this technique to additional pediatric cohorts. The advantage of this method is that it requires minimal cooperation on part of the patient (of particular value in pediatric populations), has a short collection period, does not require trained staff, and can be performed with portable equipment in resource-limited field settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59217
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number144
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Breath
  • Chemistry
  • Issue 144
  • biomarker
  • children
  • collection
  • diseases
  • gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • pediatric
  • thermal desorber tubes


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