We have explored the ability of high-resolution NMR techniques to (1) index salivary biomolecules and (2) provide valuable data regarding intra- and inter-subject variability in the concentrations of a series of components readily determinable by this technique (organic acids and malodorous amines). Experiments were conducted on 'whole' saliva samples collected from 20 patients, either randomly during their daily activities, or, for investigations involving the quantification of salivary biomolecules, immediately after they woke in the morning throughout a three-day period. These NMR techniques permitted us to detect greater than 60 metabolites, together with agents arising from dietary, oral health care product, and pharmaceutical sources. Highly significant "between-subject" differences in the a.m. waking salivary metabolite concentrations were found for 9 out of 11 components monitored. It is concluded that NMR spectroscopy serves as a powerful technique for the multicomponent analysis of human saliva.
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