Comparison of the Volatile Organic Compounds From Different Biological Specimens for Profiling Potential

J Forensic Sci. 2013 Jan;58(1):29-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02215.x. Epub 2012 Jul 16.


Previous work has demonstrated the ability to differentiate individuals based on the analysis of human scent hand odor chemicals. In this paper, a range of forensic biological specimens are shown to also have the ability to differentiate individuals based upon the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present. Human VOC profiles from hand odor, oral fluid, breath, blood, and urine of 31 individuals were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) and combined methods of chromatogram comparison, Spearman rank correlation comparison, and principal component analysis. Intra-specimen comparisons demonstrated the distinguishability of individuals above 99%. Inter-specimen VOC profiles from the same individual were found to be too different to be used for scent-matching purposes, with Spearman rank coefficients below 0.15. A 6-month VOC profile monitoring of two individuals demonstrated the consistency of VOC profiles over time across specimens.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Breath Tests
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odorants
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Solid Phase Microextraction
  • Urine / chemistry
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*
  • Young Adult


  • Volatile Organic Compounds