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American journal of clinical pathology

A rapid novel derivatization of amphetamine and methamphetamine using 2,2,2-trichloroethyl chloroformate for gas chromatography electron ionization and chemical ionization mass spectrometric analysis.


PMID 9576569

Abstract

Amphetamine and methamphetamine are commonly abused central nervous system stimulants. We describe a rapid new derivatization of amphetamine and methamphetamine using 2,2,2-trichloroethyl chloroformate for gas chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis. Amphetamine and methamphetamine, along with N-propyl amphetamine (internal standard), were extracted from urine using 1-chlorobutane. The derivatization with 2,2,2-trichloroethyl chloroformate can be achieved at room temperature in 10 minutes. The electron ionization mass spectrum of amphetamine 2,2,2-trichloroethyl carbamate showed two weak molecular ions at m/z 309 and 311, but showed diagnostic strong peaks at m/z 218, 220, and 222. In contrast, chemical ionization of the mass spectrum of amphetamine 2,2,2-trichloroethyl carbamate showed strong (M + 1) ions at m/z 310 and 312 and other strong diagnostic peaks at m/z 274 and 276. The major advantages of this derivative are the presence of a diagnostic cluster of peaks due to the isotopic effect of three chlorine atoms (isotopes 35 and 37) in the derivatized molecule and the relative ease of its preparation. We also observed strong molecular ions for derivatized methamphetamine in the chemical ionization mass spectrum, but the molecular ions were very weak in the electron ionization mass spectrum. We used the scan mode of mass spectrometry in all analyses. When using a urine standard containing 1,000 ng/mL of amphetamine (a 7.4-micromol/L concentration) and methamphetamine (a 6.7-micromol/L concentration), the within-run precisions were 4.8% for amphetamine and 3.6% for methamphetamine. The corresponding between-run precisions were 5.3% for amphetamine and 6.7% for methamphetamine. The assay was linear for amphetamine and methamphetamine concentrations of 250 to 5,000 ng/mL (amphetamine, 1.9-37.0 micromol/L; methamphetamine, 1.7-33.6 micromol/L). The detection limit was 100 ng/mL (amphetamine, 0.74 micromol/L; methamphetamine, 0.67 micromol/L) using the scan mode of electron ionization mass spectrometry. We observed good a correlation between the concentrations of amphetamine and methamphetamine in five urine specimens positive for amphetamines using the more conventional pentafluoropropionyl derivative and our new derivative using 2,2,2-trichloroethyl chloroformate.

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