Comparison of volatile sulfur compound concentrations measured with a sulfide detector vs. gas chromatography

J. Furne, G. Majerus, P. Lenton, J. Springfield, D. G. Levitt, Michael D Levitt

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68 Scopus citations


The accuracy of the Halimeter®, an inexpensive, simple instrument that measures total breath volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), has not been adequately tested. We compared Halimeter® measurements with those obtained with a specific and sensitive gas chromatographic (GC) technique. The Halimeter® gave different, biexponential responses to a constant concentration of different VSCs: The relative response rate and sensitivity were hydrogen sulfide > methyl mercaptan > dimethylsulfide. The transient peak VSC concentration of oral samples was reached long before the sulfide detector fully responded. The GC measurement of initial total VSCs in breath samples was 2.7 ± 0.48 times greater than the peak concentration of the Halimeter®. However, the plateau phase measurement of the Halimeter® was 25% greater than that of GC. While GC and Halimeter® measurements positively correlated, appreciable differences were observed. In studies where relatively precise VSC measurements are required, GC is the preferable technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-143
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Halitosis
  • Oral hygiene
  • Sulfide
  • Volatile sulfur compound

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