Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Determination of low ppm levels of dimethyl sulfate in an aqueous soluble API intermediate using liquid-liquid extraction and GC-MS.

PMID 19576712


Dimethyl sulfate (DMS) is an alkylating reagent commonly used in organic syntheses and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. Due to its potential carcinogenicity, the level of DMS in the API process needs to be carefully monitored. However, in-process testing for DMS is challenging because of its reactivity and polarity as well as complex matrix effects. In this short communication, we report a GC-MS method for determination of DMS in an API intermediate that is a methyl sulfate salt. To overcome the complex matrix interference, DMS and an internal standard, d6-DMS, were extracted from the matrix with methyl tert-butyl ether. GC separation was conducted on a DB-624 column (30 m long, 0.32 mm ID, 1.8 microm film thickness). MS detection was performed on a single-quad Agilent MSD equipped with an electron impact source while the MSD signal was acquired in selected ion monitoring mode. This GC/MS method showed a linear response for DMS equivalent from 1.0 to 60 ppm. The practical quantitation limit for DMS was 1.0 ppm and the practical detection limit was 0.3 ppm. The relative standard derivation for analyte response was found as 0.1% for six injections of a working standard equivalent to 18.6 ppm of DMS. The spike recovery was ranged from 102.1 to 108.5% for a sample of API intermediate spiked with 8.0 ppm of DMS. In summary, the GC/MS method showed adequate specificity, linearity, sensitivity, repeatability and accuracy for determination of DMS in the API intermediate. This method has been successfully applied to study the efficiency of removing DMS from the process.

Related Materials