Quantitation of ethanol in UTI assay for volatile organic compound detection by electronic nose using the validated headspace GC-MS method

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Disease detection through gas analysis has long been the topic of many studies because of its potential as a rapid diagnostic technique. In particular, the pathogens that cause urinary tract infection (UTI) have been shown to generate different profiles of volatile organic compounds, thus enabling the discrimination of causative agents using an electronic nose. While past studies have performed data collection on either agar culture or jellified urine culture, this study measures the headspace volume of liquid urine culture samples. Evaporation of the liquid and the presence of background compounds during electronic nose (e-nose) device operation could introduce variability to the collected data. Therefore, a headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method was developed and validated for quantitating ethanol in the headspace of the urine samples. By leveraging the new method to characterize the sample stability during e-nose measurement, it was revealed that ethanol concentration dropped more than 15% after only three measurement cycles, which equal 30 minutes for this study. It was further shown that by using only data within the first three cycles, better accuracies for between-day classification were achieved, which was 73.7% and 97.0%, compared to using data from within the first nine cycles, which resulted in 65.0% and 81.1% accuracies. Therefore, the newly developed method provides better quality control for data collection, paving ways for the future establishment of a training data library for UTI.