Chemical Characterization of Human Body Odor Headspace Components


This study focused on evaluating human body odor volatiles using a chamber approach. Ten participants were asked to sit inside the chamber for 1 h, while using SPME as the extraction technique for vapor sampling. A total of 105 compounds were detected across participants, with nonanal having the highest frequency. PCA statistical analysis depicted tighter clustering in female whole-body odor profiles when compared to males, thus corroborating gender odor differences. Concurrently, various biospecimens (hand, axillary, breath) from the same participants allowed for a comparison between whole-body and individual biospecimen odor signatures. When comparing whole-body sampling and distinctive biospecimens, nonanal and decanal were the only odor volatiles shared. Statistical clustering depicted higher similarity within the odor profiles of individual biospecimens compared to odor profiles of the whole body, indicating distinctiveness of the odor chemical landscape as a function of sampling region. Overall, this study demonstrated that SPME-GC/MS methodology was successful in the extraction, detection, and identification of previously reported human scent volatiles when employing the human chamber for whole-body sampling. Our presented testing paradigm allows for a direct comparison of odor volatiles across the full body and specific body locations that allows odor markers to be furthered exploited for diagnostic and biological detection contexts.


© 2024 by the authors. cc-by


chemical characterization, human scent, SPME, volatilome, whole-body odor


Medrano, A.C., Cantu, A., Aviles-Rosa, E.O., Hall, N.J., Maughan, M.N., Gadberry, J.D., & Prada-Tiedemann, P.A.. 2024. Chemical Characterization of Human Body Odor Headspace Components. Separations, 11(3).