A demonstration of the use of ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC/MS) in the determination of amphetamine-type substances and ketamine for forensic and toxicological analysis

Luigino Apollonio, Dennis Pianca, Ian Whittal, Bill Maher

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    We have recently seen the emergence of ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to mass spectrometry as an alternative to traditional high-performance liquid chromatography techniques. The strengths of UPLC technology promote the ability to separate and identify drug compounds with significant gains in resolution and sensitivity and marked reductions in the overall time of analysis. As increased throughput is the desire of the practical toxicology laboratory, the aim of this study was to trial commercially available technology by assessment of the separation of several commonly encountered amphetamine-type substances. From injection of a poly-drug reference standard and whole blood extract, we successfully separated and identified amphetamine, methamphetamine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phentermine, MDA, MDMA, MDEA and ketamine in less than 3 min using the Acquity UPLC-Micromass Quattro Micro API MS instrumentation (Waters Corporation, USA). In addition to this significant reduction in overall run time, all peaks exhibited acceptable resolution using selected ion recording (SIR), with analysis indicating the capability to separate 5–11 peaks in 1.75 min using the current system parameters. From this introductory data, it is therefore indicated that the technological advancements defining ultra-performance liquid chromatography will allow it to serve as a powerful analytical tool for rapid throughput analysis
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-115
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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