Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) offer unique insights into
ongoing biochemical processes in healthy and diseased humans. Yet, their
diagnostic use is hampered by the limited understanding of their
biochemical or cellular origin and their frequently unclear link to the
underlying diseases. Major advancements are expected from the analyses of
human primary cells, cell lines and cultures of microorganisms. In this
review, a database of 125 reliably identified VOCs previously reported for
human healthy and diseased cells was assembled and their potential origin
is discussed. The majority of them have also been observed in studies with
other human matrices (breath, urine, saliva, feces, blood, skin emanations).
Moreover, continuing improvements of qualitative and quantitative
analyses, based on the recommendations of the ISO-11843 guidelines, are
suggested for the necessary standardization of analytical procedures and
better comparability of results. The data provided contribute to arriving at a
more complete human volatilome and suggest potential volatile biomarkers
for future validation.
Dedication:This review is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Dr. Anton
Amann, who sadly passed away on January 6, 2015. He was motivator and
motor for the field of breath research.