Breathalyzers In The Doctor’s Office

Joseph Stromberg showcases a new method of detecting bacterial infections in the lungs:

[Researchers from the University of Vermont] focused on analyzing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in mouse breath to distinguish between different strains of bacteria that were infecting the animals’ lungs. They hypothesized that these bacteria produce VOCs not normally present in the lungs, thus allowing their test to differentiate between a healthy animal and a sick one … Their test was a success: There was a significant difference between the chemical signatures of healthy and infected mouse breath, and their test was even able to indicate which type of bacteria were the source of the infection.