LC/MS (TOF) Analysis of Illicit Bath Salts on Ascentis® Express HILIC

LC/MS (TOF) Analysis of Illicit Bath Salts on Ascentis® Express HILIC


column Ascentis Express HILIC, 10 cm x 2.1 mm I.D., 2.7 µm particles (53939-U)
column temp. 35 °C
mobile phase [A] acetonitrile; [B] 0.25 M ammonium formate; (98:2, A:B); premixed
flow rate 0.6 mL/min
pressure 1842 psi (127 bar)
sample 200 µg/L ea. in acetonitrile
injection 1 µL
detector MS, ESI(+), TIC, m/z 100-1000


Analysis Note With the rapid development of unregulated designer and synthetic compounds, the field of illicit drug testing has recently been met with a changing environment. Of most concern has been the development of a class of phenethylamine and cathinone compounds being marketed as “bath salts,” “jewelry cleaner,” or “plant food.” Though sold as “not for human consumption,” these compounds are reported to generate stiµLating affects similar to that of methamphetamine, heroin, and 3,4- methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDMA). For a period of time, these compounds could be acquired legally through the internet and head shops due to no direct legal control. In the US, both state and local governments have instituted bans on the sale of these bath salt compounds. Forensic testing facilities often experience difficulty in testing these compounds due to the fact that they are not detected under normal ELISA testing methods; additional more specific LC-MS methods are necessary. The challenge for LC-MS detection of these particular bath salts resides in three sets of isobaric compounds that require chromatographic resolution for positive confirmation. For example, both butylone and ethylone have the same mono isotopic mass, making these compounds indistinguishable, even when using accurate mass time of flight TOF-MS. Efficient chromatographic separation is necessary for accurate quantitation of these compounds. The polar basic nature of the bath salts makes these compounds difficult to retain on traditional reversed-phase C18 and even polar embedded stationary phases, making them prime subjects for HILIC chromatographic separation. Shown here is the fast, high-resolution separation of nine synthetic bath salts on Ascentis Express HILIC.
Categories Analytical Chromatography, Forensics and Toxicology, drugs of abuse, Drugs of Abuse
Featured Industry Forensics and Toxicology
Legal Information Ascentis is a registered trademark of Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC
suitability application for HPLC


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