Development of new solvent-free microextraction techniques for the analysis of volatile organic compounds: application to the use of breath analysis as a toxicological tool for explosure analysis

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Hippocrates predicted many years ago that breath could tell something related with our health. On his treaties, he indicated that when the body starts moving after sleeping, and breathe with more frequency, something hot and acid is expelled with air. It is possible to predict a disease from breath, but it has not been until recent years that last developments in breath analysis has allowed to detect compounds precisely and to associate the presence of these compounds to certain diseases. The use of breath analysis in clinical diagnosis and exposure to contaminants presents great advantages as this is a non-invasive technique, compared with other techniques such as blood or urine analyses. Two new instrumental methodologies have been developed in the present thesis, which are based on adsorbent micro-traps, specifically designed for the analysis of volatile compounds in breath and environmental samples. These equipments are versatile and low cost, compared to other commercially available instrumentations. One of the methodologies developed has been designed for the analysis volatile compounds in breath samples, showing efficiency and resolutions unknown up to know. It has allowed detecting exposure to volatile contaminants in a range of concentrations that the current techniques cannot achieve. The second equipment has been developed for the analysis of the same contaminants in other biological matrixes, in this case blood. It has been used to assess the mechanism followed by the inhaled compounds when entering the human body. These new methodologies were evaluated in different exposure studies. 2,5-dimethylfurean was detected with a high sensitivity and allowed to determine the smoking habits of a wide group of individuals, also 48 hours after smoking. The levels of contamination due environmental tobacco smoke were also evaluated in different environments. The high sensitivity of the developed techniques allowed us to demonstrate the contamination of passive smokers by environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) after few hours of being in contact with. Breath levels of the smoking biomarker after few hours in contact with ETS where at the same level that those found in smokers who smoke few cigarettes per day ​
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