Identification of ibd using an electronic e nose
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Identification of IBD using an electronic e-nose. Covington JA 3, , Westinbrink E 3 , Nwokolo C 1 , Bardhan KD 4 , Arasaradnam RP 1,2 1University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire & 2Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Medical School, University of Warwick

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Identification of IBD using an electronic e-nose

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Identification of IBD using an electronic e-nose

Covington JA3,, Westinbrink E3, Nwokolo C1, Bardhan KD4, Arasaradnam RP1,2

1University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire &

2Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Medical School,

University of Warwick

3School of Engineering, University of Warwick, 4Rotherham NHS Trust

11th BROAD Meeting, Los Angeles – March 2013


Distal UC; proximal constipation

PL, age 64

11 weeks after PEG: 4 / 20 markers

Before PEG: 13 / 20 markers

Cow 100%

Horse 100%

Cow 50%

Saw dust 50%



Composite animal Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - chromatogram profile (GC)

Pilot – Animal Studies

Chicken = Black

Horse = Pink

Cow = Blue


Quantity: Measured as ppm or calculated as area under curve (AUC)


Sniffing diseases..…

Can we smell these chemcical?

(>5 senses)

‘Smell’ @ Warwick

Life in ‘Smell’

Persaud & Dodd Nature 1982

First research group dedicated to the sense of smell

First company making artificial olfaction instruments

First commercial products manufactured here…

Long history of smell research…

What can we analyse?

Urine/Faecal/Breath samples from animals & patients

Chemical analysis of odours emanating from the sample – essentially sniffing!


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • Disease alters gut flora - altered fermentation patterns which alters the composition of gases emitted from urine

  • Organic compounds that have high vapour pressure at normal room temperature.

  • Mainly from colonic fermentation by gut bacteria and partly from physiological metabolic processes

  • Released in breath, urine, faeces, blood

  • A potential diagnostic biomarker in IBD

Technologies used

Ion Mobility Spectrometry

Electronic nose


Study design

62 subjects – 3 groups

Urine collected and analysed using E-nose and FAIMS

Data analysed using Principal Component analysis

E-nose sensor response

Differentiating IBD using E-nose

The maximum response minus the minimum response

is used as a feature for data analysis

Results – E nose

Discriminant Function (DF) Analysis of Fox 4000 data

FAIMS – Field Asymetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry

  • Simple fast analysis of vapours and gases

  • Detects chemicals in complex mixtures

  • Identifies by mobility (ion movement through an electric field)

  • Mobility determined by molecule size and mass


  • 4,000 variables from Wavelet transform

  • Cluster Analysis to identify key variables

  • Use 20 for identification

1st 500 variables

Control – Disease state

Study design

105 subjects – 2 groups

Urine collected and analysed using FAIMS

Data analysed using Principal Component analysis

Results – FAIMS (n = 105)

  • 40 Crohns

  • 40 Ulcerative Colitis

  • 25 Controls

Each sample re-classified based on remaining samples

Results – FAIMS flare vs remission

Separation of IBD and controls with Gas Chromatography

Summary of chemical peaks in volunteers and Crohn’s , UC patients

What are we detecting?

Possible Key chemicals

  • In excess of 20 chemicals modulated;

  • Likely key chemicals:

    • ethyl esters propanoic or butanoic acids, butanoic acid

    • methyl ester, 3-methyl butanoic acid, 1-butanol, 1-propanol and indole

HA=hydrogen azide (HN3); APossible Key chemicalsA=acetic acid (CH3COOH); PG=propylene glycol (C3H6(OH)2); A=aldehydes; K=ketones; OA=organic acids.


Clear disease separation between controls, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

Able to detect between disease flares and remission

VOC correlation with GC

Potential first line diagnostic modality in patients with suspected IBD

Inexpensive novel tool, non invasive and potentially provides point of care diagnosis


Nathalie Ouaret (PhD)

Nabil Quraishi (MSc)

Eic Westinbrink (PhD)

Nicki O’Connel, RGN

Catherine Bailey, RGN

BROAD Foundation



Thank you - Questions

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