New strategies of rapid high-throughput analysis of street drugs without time-consuming sample preparations are necessary due to the massive variety of illicit substances available on the market.
We used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify substances in 74 drug samples obtained from anonymous drug users who participate in the drug prevention initiative “checkit!”. We compared our methodology with results derived from “checkit!” where samples are analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to ultraviolet diode array detection (UV-DAD) as well as single Quad-MS. Reference substances were serially diluted for calibration curves to assess the possibility of obtaining quantitative information with MALDI using an ionic liquid matrix.
All drug substances found by “checkit!” analysis were also identified by MALDI HRMS full scan without previous chromatographic separations, including the detection of additionally 16 substances not detected by “checkit!”. Reference substances such as cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide, levamisole and papaverine were detectable using the ionic liquid matrix N,N-diisopropylethylammonium α-cyanohydroxycinnamate. Serial dilutions revealed correlation coefficients ranging from 0.95 to 0.99.
Considering the growing complexity in the analysis of designer drugs the presented method can be used either in parallel or instead of already established drug identification techniques as a fast and comprehensive primary screening tool.
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Ostermann KM. 1, Luf A. 2, Lutsch NM. 1, Dieplinger R. 1, Mechtler TP. 1, Metz TF. 1, Schmid R. 2, *Kasper DC .3.
1 Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Research Core Unit of Pediatric Biochemistry and Analytics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
2 Clinical Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
3 Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Research Core Unit of Pediatric Biochemistry and Analytics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.