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Recognizing and managing the different types of aspiration events remain a challenging task due to the lack of distinguishing clinical or laboratory characteristics. Numerous biomarkers in serum, sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage have been studied, and their role in the recognition of aspiration remains controversial at this time. Recent animal investigations using an array of biomarkers based on distinct pathogenic features of each aspiration event have produced promising results; however, they have not been validated in humans. Newer markers are being introduced as diagnostic and prognostic tools in conditions such as community-acquired pneumonia and sepsis, but they have not been examined in aspiration. The present review summarizes the different biomarkers that have been studied in aspiration and those who might have a potential clinical use in the future.