U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 72, No. 4, February 15, 2000; DOI: 10.1021/ac990963k


Volatile compounds emanated from human skin were studied by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/ MS). The purpose of this study was to identify compounds that may be human-produced kairomones which are used for host location by the mosquito, Aedes aegypti (L.). The procedure used to collect volatiles was chosen because of prior knowledge that attractive substances can be transferred from skin to glass by handling. Laboratory bioassays have shown that the residuum on the glass remains attractive to mosquitoes until the compounds of importance evaporate. The sampling and analytical procedures modeled the above-cited process as closely as possible except that the evaporation of compounds from the glass surface was accomplished by thermal desorption from glass beads in a heated GC injection port. This made possible the solventless injection of volatiles onto the column. The compounds were cryofocused on the head of the column with liquid nitrogen prior to GC separation. A single stage of mass spectrometry on a triple quadrupole instrument was used for mass analysis. A combination of electron ionization and pulsed positive ion/negative ion chemical ionization modes on two different GC columns (one polar, one relatively nonpolar) was used to identify most of the 346 compound peaks detected by this technique.