Spectroscopic molecular-fingerprint profiling of saliva

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Saliva analysis has been gaining interest as a potential non-invasive source of disease indicative biomarkers due to being a complex biofluid correlating with blood-based constituents on a molecular level. For saliva to cement its usage for analytical applications, it is paramount to gain underpinning molecular knowledge and establish a ‘baseline’ of the salivary composition in healthy individuals as well as characterize how these factors are impacting its performance as potential analytical biofluid. Here, we have systematically studied the molecular spectral fingerprint of saliva, including the changes associated with gender, age, and time. Via hybrid artificial neural network algorithms and Raman spectroscopy, we have developed a non-destructive molecular profiling approach enabling the assessment of salivary spectral changes yielding the determination of gender and age of the biofluid source. Our classification algorithm successfully identified the gender and age from saliva with high classification accuracy. Discernible spectral molecular ‘barcodes’ were subsequently constructed for each class and found to primarily stem from amino acid, protein, and lipid changes in saliva. This unique combination of Raman spectroscopy and advanced machine learning techniques lays the platform for a variety of applications in forensics and biosensing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number339074
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Early online date18 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from the Wellcome Trust (174ISSFPP and 213458/Z/18/Z), the Royal Academy of Engineering (RF1415∖14∖28) and the EPSRC . P.G.O. is a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship holder.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Diagnostic forensic biofluid
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Saliva profiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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