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Investigation of cell culture volatilomes using solid phase micro extraction: Options and pitfalls exemplified with adenocarcinoma cell lines

Schallschmidt, Kristin, Becker, Roland, Jung, Christian, Rolff, Jana, Fichtner, Iduna, Nehls, Irene
Journal of Chromatography B 2015 v.1006 pp. 158-166
adenocarcinoma, cell culture, culture flasks, culture media, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, headspace analysis, lung neoplasms, nutrient solutions, polystyrenes, solid phase microextraction, volatile organic compounds
Three strategies to sample volatile organic compounds (VOC) from lung cancer cell lines cultured in vitro were compared. Headspace solid phase microextraction was applied in situ to culture flasks and alternatively to subsamples of headspace gas or to nutrient solution subsamples followed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The direct quantification of 55 VOC in the headspace of cell cultures was validated and is discussed with respect to reproducibility and system-related interferences. The role of the VOC background from culture media and usually employed polystyrene culture vessels is examined and was seen to invoke potentially misleading conclusions. The commercial A549 and two further adenocarcinoma cell lines displayed largely similar VOC profiles with distinct differences regarding certain individual substances. There is evidence for the inappropriateness of the standard cell culturing methods in the search for volatile cancer markers.