Factors influencing breath ammonia determination

Steven F. Solga, Matthew Mudalel, Lisa A. Spacek, Rafal Lewicki, Frank Tittel, Claudio Loccioni, Adolfo Russo, Terence H. Risby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Amongst volatile compounds (VCs) present in exhaled breath, ammonia has held great promise and yet it has confounded researchers due to its inherent reactivity. Herein we have evaluated various factors in both breath instrumentation and the breath collection process in an effort to reduce variability. We found that the temperature of breath sampler and breath sensor, mouth rinse pH, and mode of breathing to be important factors. The influence of the rinses is heavily dependent upon the pH of the rinse. The basic rinse (pH 8.0) caused a mean increase of the ammonia concentration by 410 ± 221 ppb. The neutral rinse (pH 7.0), slightly acidic rinse (pH 5.8), and acidic rinse (pH 2.5) caused a mean decrease of the ammonia concentration by 498 ± 355 ppb, 527 ± 198 ppb, and 596 ± 385 ppb, respectively. Mode of breathing (mouth-open versus mouth-closed) demonstrated itself to have a large impact on the rate of recovery of breath ammonia after a water rinse. Within 30 min, breath ammonia returned to 98 ± 16% that of the baseline with mouth open breathing, while mouth closed breathing allowed breath ammonia to return to 53 ± 14% of baseline. These results contribute to a growing body of literature that will improve reproducibly in ammonia and other VCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number037101
JournalJournal of breath research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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