Aldehydes are volatile carbonyl compounds produced by various natural and industrial processes that are omnipresent in food, the environment, the air in our homes and at work, the human body etc.
The exposure to high concentrations of aldehydes in air have toxic effects on the human body, the aldehydes pattern in human breath is related to oxidative stress and various medical conditions including cancer, while emissions from stored food contain aldehydes that indicate the food’s freshness. To give just a few examples, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and hexanal are the main aldehydes in the indoor air in homes, offices and schools, and they result from human activities (cooking, painting etc) or emissions from new furniture.
Maximum admissible amounts of formaldehyde in the air in working environments are established at 0.1 mg/m3, while for acetaldehyde a maximum concentration of 25 ppm in the indoor air in working spaces was set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
In the food field, gaseous emissions from fruit, vegetables, oils or meat contain aldehydes that are directly linked to the product’s freshness. Rancid cooking oils emit various long (C6 to C9) saturated and unsaturated aliphatic aldehydes, the aroma profile of fruit and meat changes during cold storage etc. Acetaldehyde is one the volatile compounds responsible for the off-flavor of tomatoes and a major part of emissions from spoiled meat etc.
Aldehydes have also a more direct link to human health. For example, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and acrolein were identified as the main responsible for the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with smoking and vaping. The contents of malondialdehyde, acrolein, hexanal in the people’s breath define a pattern indicative of oxidative stress in the human body, the concentration of some saturated aliphatic aldehydes such as hexanal and nonanal are significantly different in people suffering of non-small cell lung cancer compared to /healthy people etc.
Acetaldehyde concentrations in breath after drinking alcohol are also linked to the gene polymorphism of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH) in the human body, e.g the ALDH 2 in about 40% of people in Asia have a much lower enzymatic activity than in the rest of population meaning a lower detoxification speed of the acetaldehyde produced in the liver after drinking ethanol.
For this project, our partner is the International Centre of Biodynamics - CIB (Romania)
(1.5.2) Establishing the technical specifications for the NADH electrochemical sensor and (1.6.2) those for the enzymatic electrochemical biosensor network
(1.7.2) Establishing the configuration for the aldehydes air detection system and the preliminary development of the user interface