Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 24, pp 6649–6658 | Cite as

Identification of fungal metabolites from inside Gallus gallus domesticus eggshells by non-invasively detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • Raquel Cumeras
  • Alexander A. Aksenov
  • Alberto Pasamontes
  • Alexander G. Fung
  • Amanda N. Cianchetta
  • Hung Doan
  • R. Michael Davis
  • Cristina E. Davis
Research Paper


The natural porosity of eggshells allows hen eggs to become contaminated with microbes from the nesting material and environment. Those microorganisms can later proliferate due to the humid ambient conditions while stored in refrigerators, causing a potential health hazard to the consumer. The microbes’ volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) are released by both fungi and bacteria. We studied mVOCs produced by aging eggs likely contaminated by fungi and fresh eggs using the non-invasive detection method of gas-phase sampling of volatiles followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis. Two different fungal species (Cladosporium macrocarpum and Botrytis cinerea) and two different bacteria species (Stenotrophomas rhizophila and Pseudomonas argentinensis) were identified inside the studied eggs. Two compounds believed to originate from the fungi themselves were identified. One fungus-specific compound was found in both egg and the fungi: trichloromethane.

Graphical abstract

Trichloromethane is a potential biomarker of fungal contamination of eggs


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Fungi Bacteria Hen egg Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) 



Partial support was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant number #UL1 TR000002 [CED] and NSF award #1255915 [CED, AAA]. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the funding agency.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2016_9778_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (228 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 228 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Cumeras
    • 1
  • Alexander A. Aksenov
    • 1
  • Alberto Pasamontes
    • 1
  • Alexander G. Fung
    • 1
  • Amanda N. Cianchetta
    • 2
  • Hung Doan
    • 2
  • R. Michael Davis
    • 2
  • Cristina E. Davis
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Center for Nano and Micro Manufacturing (CNM2)University of California, DavisDavisUSA

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