Electronic noses (e-noses) are based on arrays of different sensor types that respond to specific features of an odorant molecule, mostly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Differently from gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, e-noses can distinguish VOCs spectrum by pattern recognition. E-nose technology has successfully been used in commercial applications, including military, environmental, and food industry. Human-exhaled breath contains a mixture of over 3000 VOCs, which offers the postulate that e-nose technology can have medical applications. Based on the above hypothesis, an increasing number of studies have shown that breath profiling by e-nose could play a role in the diagnosis and/or screening of various respiratory and systemic diseases. The aim of the present study was to review the principal literature on the application of e-nose technology in respiratory diseases.
Keywords: Electronic nose; Exhaled breath; Volatile organic compounds.