Identification of signature volatiles to discriminate Candida albicans, glabrata, krusei and tropicalis using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry

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SummaryOral candidiasis is the most frequent fungal infection of the oral cavity. Clinical diagnoses require mycological confirmation, which is time-consuming in case of culture testing. The aim of the study was to identify signature volatiles to develop a chairside breath test to diagnose oral candidiasis. Headspaces above Candida albicans, glabrata, tropicalis, krusei cultures, and growth media as control were analysed after eight and 24 h using offline gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The identification of signature volatiles was assisted using various microbial databases. Retrieved volatile patterns enabled Candida species discrimination in vitro. For C. albicans 3-methyl-2-butanone and styrene and for C. krusei a combination of p-xylene, 2-octanone, 2-heptanone and n-butyl acetate were found to be specific. 1-hexanol was found in C. tropicalis, but is emitted by a variety of other microorganisms. C. glabrata was characterised through the absence of these volatiles. The development of a breath test is a promising approach in confirming suspicions of oral candidiasis. To confirm the retrieved results in vivo, breath tests in affected and healthy subjects have to be performed.

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