Breath-test research for disease
Equipment to monitor solvents inhaled by print machine operators is being adapted to develop a breath test for diagnosing diseases including cancer.
Researchers at Swansea University hope to create a more convenient and rapid method for spotting serious illness.
The idea of analysing certain compounds from breath samples to test for cancer, diabetes and other diseases is not new.
But researchers said many techniques have previously been seen as crude and unreliable.
Dr Masood Yousef, a senior research assistant at the university's Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, is using existing technology to analyse the concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath.
He said: "Studies have shown that high concentrations of certain VOCs in breath can correlate with disease.
"For example, the odour of 'pear drops' and acetone in relation to diabetes, ammonia in relation to hepatitis, and dimethyl sulphide to cirrhosis.