Journal Highlight: Chemometrics-assisted chromatographic fingerprinting: An illicit methamphetamine case study

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  • Published: Apr 10, 2017
  • Author: separationsNOW
  • Channels: Laboratory Informatics
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Chemometrics-assisted chromatographic fingerprinting: An illicit methamphetamine case study

A curve resolution approach for chromatogram fingerprinting of GC/MS data has been applied for the first time to identify the embedded impurities of a drug of abuse.

Chemometrics-assisted chromatographic fingerprinting: An illicit methamphetamine case study

Journal of Separation Science, 2017, 40, 1318-1326
Nafiseh Shekari, Maryam Vosough and Kourosh Tabar Heidar

Abstract: The volatile chemical constituents in complex mixtures can be analyzed using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. This analysis allows the tentative identification of diverse impurities of an illicit methamphetamine sample. The acquired two-dimensional data of liquid–liquid extraction was resolved by multivariate curve resolution alternating curve resolution to elucidate the embedded peaks effectively. This is the first report on the application of a curve resolution approach for chromatogram fingerprinting to identify particularly the embedded impurities of a drug of abuse. Indeed, the strong and broad peak of methamphetamine makes identifying the underlying peaks problematic and even impossible. Mathematical separation instead of conventional chromatographic approaches was performed in a way that trace components embedded in methamphetamine peak were successfully resolved. Comprehensive analysis of the chromatogram, using multivariate curve resolution, resulted in elution profiles and mass spectra for each pure compound. Impurities such as benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, benzene, propenyl methyl ketone, benzyl methyl ketone, amphetamine, N-benzyl-2-methylaziridine, phenethylamine, N,N,α-trimethylamine, phenethylamine, N,α,α-trimethylmethamphetamine, N-acetylmethamphetamine, N-formylmethamphetamine, and other chemicals were identified. A route-specific impurity, N-benzyl-2-methylaziridine, indicating a synthesis route based on ephedrine/pseudoephedrine was identified. Moreover, this is the first report on the detection of impurities such as phenethylamine, N,α,α-trimethylamine (a structurally related impurity), and clonitazene (as an adulterant) in an illicit methamphetamine sample.

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