U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Bayn, A., P. Nol, U.Tisch, J. Rhyan, C.K. Ellis, and H. Haick. 2013. Detection of volatile organic compounds in Brucella abortus-seropositive bison. Analytical Chemistry 85:11146-11152. doi: 10.1021/ac403134f.


U.S. government work.


Brucellosis is of great public health and economic importance worldwide. Detection of brucellosis currently relies on serologic testing of an antibody response to Brucella infection, which suffers from cross-sensitivities to other antibody responses. Here we present a new method for identifying Brucella exposure that is based on profiling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath. Breath samples from Brucella-seropositive bison and controls were chemically analyzed and demonstrated statistically significant differences in the concentration profiles of five VOCs. A point-of-care device incorporating an array of nanomaterial-based sensors could identify VOC patterns indicative of Brucella exposure with excellent discriminative power, using a statistical algorithm. We show that the patterns were not affected by the animals’ environment and that the discriminative power of the approach was stable over time. The Brucella-indicative VOCs and collective patterns that were identified in this pilot study could lead to the development of a novel diagnostic screening test for quickly detecting infected animals chute-side, pen-side, or even remotely in populations of free-ranging ungulates. The promising preliminary results presented encourage subsequent larger scale trials in order to further evaluate the proposed method.

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