Hand odor volatiles and drug abuse: A pilot study using chemical dependent target group
Kemboi, Silas K.
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With the prevalent increase in illicit substance abuse population in the U.S and its direct cost to society; different types of drugs of abuse are commonly sampled and detected in urine, sweat, blood, hair, and other human biological specimens. However, little or no information has ever been available on the physiognomies of drug excretion and detection in human hand odor under any controlled or designed drug admission. This pilot study was designed to “chemically fingerprint” 7 different hand odor samples from human subjects undergoing court-ordered drug treatment programs at the Lubbock County Community Corrections Facility/ Court Residential Treatment Center (CRTC). They were monitored on a bi-weekly basis to obtain the chemical odor profile as a function of rehabilitation time. Detailed histories and subjective reports of chemical dependency of the individuals’ substance use patterns was gathered for comparison with collected samples. The collection method used was a passive, contact approach where target subjects held a cotton gauze for odor sampling. This odor sample was allowed to sit for 24 hours for headspace volatilization in a glass vial at 21°C and 65% humidity for odor volatiles to achieve equilibrium distribution. Head space solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) was performed with a divinylbenzene/carbonex/polydimethylsiloxane (DVB/CAR/PDMS) fiber, a 50/30 µm film thickness and 2 cm length was employed to extract compounds from the subjects’ hands and analyzed via Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). A total of 33 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected and identified as primary odor compounds among the subjects. Previously detected human VOCs such as benzaldehyde, phenol, octanal, benzyl alcohol, decanal, nonanal, to name a few, were all present in the tested sampling pool. In contrast, novel VOCs detected included carbitol, 1H-Indene Trimethyl-1-phenylindan, 1-hexanol-2-ethyl, and acetophenone. These compounds were reported for the first time as potential components of human odor in this specific sampling group. Principal component analysis (PCA) demonstrated clustering across the three phases of sampling intervals, thereby further confirming the increase (and change) of volatile odor patterns for all subjects as the rehabilitation program advanced. This result suggests a preliminary notion that drug use could imply a decrease in normal occurring volatile compounds within a subject.