The Effect of Temperature on Human Scent


  • SEAN MCINNIS Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Allyson Dailey Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Co-mentor
  • Dr. Robin Couch Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Mentor



Human volatile organic compounds (hVOCs) are gaseous compounds at room temperature and make up the scent of an individual. Recently, there has been great interest in using hVOCs for diagnosing disease in individuals as well as for forensics purposes. The purpose of this research project is to assess a new device for capturing hVOCs (a “HotPodâ€) and to determine the effect of temperature on hVOC analysis. To capture the hVOCs, either of two test subjects stood inside the HotPod (an enclosed metal chamber with a heater, humidifier, thermostat, and vacuum) for a set incubation time, with the temperature set to either 20 °C or 40 °C. We also placed an internal standard (IS-1) within the HotPod to ensure the HotPod was functioning consistently. After the incubation period, we turned the HotPod vacuum on to transfer the captured VOCs into a sealed bag, injected another internal standard (IS-2) into the bag, then analyzed the sample by Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). The results compare the effect of temperature on the derived hVOC profile.





College of Science: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry