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Human scent samples for chemical analysis

Petra Pojmanová, Nikola Ladislavová, Veronika Škeříková, Patrik Kania, and Štěpán Urban

Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Prague, Czech Republic



Received: 25 June 2019  Accepted: 4 November 2019


This study is focused on finding an optimal preparation of the human scent samples for their detailed chemical analysis in connection with the possible forensic identifications of human individuals in the future. At the present time, the scent identification of people is carried out nearly exclusively using specially trained dogs. It is assumed that the human scent contains a certain group of compounds which allows the identification of people, the so-called human scent signature; however, its chemical composition is completely unknown, as of now. The principal problem of human scent studies consists in the very low concentrations of thousands of the scent compounds, whereas their relative concentrations are usually dramatically different. It seems to be obvious that the most appropriate analytical technique for these thousands of different chemical compounds is GC/MS. However, it is also necessary to find the most suitable sorbent material for human scent collection, an extraction solvent, and a pre-concentration technique. The selection of the appropriate gas chromatographic method is also important to achieve the optimal resolution of the targeted compounds. Of course, in the first instance, it is necessary to decide what it means “the most suitable” for human scent chemical analysis.

Keywords: Human scent analysis; GC–MS; Sample treatment; Extraction recovery

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-019-00989-2


Chemical Papers 74 (5) 1383–1393 (2020)

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