The validity and reliability of a novel isotope ratio infrared spectrometer to quantify 13C enrichment of expired breath samples in exercise

Shaun Sutehall, Borja Muniz-Pardos, Danijela Smajgl, Magda Mandic, Cedric Jeglinski, Andrew Bosch, Stuart Galloway, Yannis Pitsiladis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The traditional method to measure 13CO2 enrichment in breath involves isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), which has several limitations such as cost, extensive training, and large space requirements. Here, we present the validity and reliability data of an isotope ratio infrared spectrometer (IRIS)-based method developed to combat these limitations. Eight healthy male runners performed 105min of continuous running on a motorized treadmill while ingesting various carbohydrate beverages enriched with 13C and expired breath samples were obtained every 15min in triplicates. A total of 213 breath samples were analyzed using both methods, whereas 212 samples were repeated using IRIS to determine test-retest reliability. Bland-Altman analysis was performed to determine systematic and proportional bias, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV) to assess level of agreement and magnitude of error. The IRIS method demonstrated a small but significant systematic bias to overestimate d13CO2 (0.18%; P < 0.05) compared with IRMS, without any proportional bias or heteroscedasticity and a small CV (0.5%). There was a small systematic bias during the test-retest of the IRIS method (0.07%; P < 0.05), no proportional bias, an excellent ICC (1.00), and small CV (0.4%). The use of the Delta Ray IRIS to determine 13C enrichment in expired breath samples captured during exercise has excellent validity and reliability when compared with the gold standard IRMS

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1421-1426
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This study was supported by a grant from Maurten AB and the Sub2 Foundation and support in-kind for the Delta Ray IRIS analysis from the Themo Fisher Scientific, Bremen, Germany.


    • Exercise
    • Expired breath C enrichment
    • Isotope ratio infrared spectrometry
    • Isotope ratio mass spectrometry


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