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Automated substance identification using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS): Exemplary analysis of a new psychoactive substance blend
Poster Title: Automated substance identification using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS): Exemplary analysis of a new psychoactive substance blend
Submitted on 11 Mar 2015
Author(s): Lukas Märk1, Jens Herbig1, Christian Lindinger1, Matteo Lanza1, Kostiantyn Breiev1,2, Eugen Hartungen1, Gernot Hanel1, Simone Jürschik1, Philipp Sulzer1, Tilmann D. Märk1,2
Affiliations: 1)Ionicon Analytik GmbH, Eduard- Bodem-Gasse 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria and 2) Institut für Ionenphysik und Angewandte Physik, Universität Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
This poster was presented at Pittcon 2015
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Poster Information
Abstract: Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) is a very sensitive real-time trace gas detection technology and thus well established in many fields of application (environmental chemistry, food and flavor research, medical sciences, etc.). However, so far PTR-MS is predominantly used as a research tool in scientific environments and only to a minute extend for automated detection. Here we present a very recently developed method enabling not only routine detection, but also substance identification with a high level of confidence.
We demonstrate the functional principle by analyzing a blend of new psychoactive substances (NPS) marketed under the lurid name "synthacaine" (i.e. synthetic cocaine) via the internet. At first, we obtain a mass spectrum of the unknown blend's headspace using H3O+ as reagent ions and tentatively assign the major mass peaks to protonated benzocaine (anesthetic; used to create the cocaine-like numbness effect) and methiopropamine (active ingredient; stimulant; structurally related to methamphetamine; compare figure below). However, as information about the exact mass is not sufficient for the unambiguous identification of a substance, we subsequently change the E/N (reduced electric field strength) in the PTR drift tube and compare the product ion branching ratios to those we obtained from pure compounds. Furthermore, we switch the reagent ions to NO+ and again compare the branching ratios with those of the pure substances at two E/N values. The whole process takes less than 30 s, facilitates nearly unambiguous compound identification and can easily be automated.
ML and KB have been supported by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme (GA 287382).
Summary: Here we want to present a new method which can be used for substance identification with a high level of confidence and can easily be automated prospectively. The working principle is demonstrated using the example of the analysis of new psychoactive substances (NPS).
This current work emphasizes the use of PTR-MS as a broad-based and highly selective analytical drug detection technology.
References: [1] A. Jordan, S. Haidacher, G. Hanel, E. Hartungen, L. Märk, H. Seehauser, R. Schottkowsky, P. Sulzer, T. D. Märk, Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 286 (2009) 122.
[2] M. Lanza, W.J. Acton, P. Sulzer, K. Breiev, S. Jürschik, A. Jordan, E. Hartungen, G. Hanel, L. Märk, T.D. Märk, C. Mayhew, J. Mass Spectrom.50(2015) 427.
[3] W.J. Acton, M. Lanza, B. Agarwal, S. Jürschik, P. Sulzer, K. Breiev, A. Jordan, E. Hartungen, G. Hanel, L. Märk, C. Mayhew, T.D. Märk, Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 360 (2014) 28.
[4] M.Müller, T. Mikoviny, S. Feil, S. Haidacher, G. Hanel, E. Hartungen, .A. Jordan, L. Märk, P. Mutschlechner, R. Schottkowsky, P. Sulzer, J.H. Crawford, A. Wisthaler, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.7 (2014) 5533.
[5] M. Lanza, W.J. Acton, K. Breiev, S. Jürschik, R. Gutmann, A. Jordan, E. Hartungen, G. Hanel, J. Herbig, L. Märk, C. Mayhew, T.D. Märk, P. Sulzer in: Contrib. 20th Symposium on Application of Plasma and Processes (2015)
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