Analysis of volatile organic compounds in human saliva by a static sorptive extraction method and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

J Chem Ecol. 2010 Sep;36(9):1035-42. doi: 10.1007/s10886-010-9846-7. Epub 2010 Aug 31.


Human saliva not only helps control oral health (with anti-microbial proteins), but it may also play a role in chemical communication. As is the case with other mammalian species, human saliva contains peptides, proteins, and numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A high-throughput analytical method is described for profiling a large number of saliva samples to screen the profiles of VOCs. Saliva samples were collected in a non-stimulated fashion. The method utilized static stir bar extraction followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The method provided excellent reproducibility for a wide range of salivary compounds, including alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, amines, amides, lactones, and hydrocarbons. Furthermore, substantial overlap of salivary VOCs and the previously reported skin VOCs in the same subject group was found in this study by using pattern recognition analyses. Sensitivity, precision, and reproducibility of the method suggest that this technique has potential in physiological, metabolomic, pharmacokinetic, forensic, and toxicological studies of small organic compounds where a large number of human saliva samples are involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Organic Chemicals / isolation & purification*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Volatilization


  • Organic Chemicals