Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 139–147 | Cite as

Application of modified QuEChERS method to liver samples for forensic toxicological analysis

  • Kiyotaka UsuiEmail author
  • Masaki Hashiyada
  • Yoshie Hayashizaki
  • Yui Igari
  • Tadashi Hosoya
  • Jun Sakai
  • Masato Funayama
Short Communication


In forensic toxicological analysis, liver is commonly used as an alternative biological specimen in cases in which blood and urine cannot be obtained. Liver samples are generally purified by a solid-phase extraction (SPE) technique after homogenization. The homogenizer probe cleaning process is laborious and has a risk of cross-contamination, and the SPE technique itself is tedious and time consuming. The QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) method is widely acknowledged in some fields, such as food analysis, as a simple, fast, and reliable method. We previously developed a modified QuEChERS method for forensic toxicological analysis in human whole blood and urine. In this study, we applied this method to liver samples from forensic cases and successfully detected not only targeted drugs (i.e., benzodiazepines, zopiclone, and zolpidem) but also various types of drugs. This method has no risk of cross-contamination because homogenization of the liver and extraction of the drugs are simultaneously performed in a disposable plastic tube. In addition, the total process time is approximately 5 min. We recommend the modified QuEChERS method for extraction of drugs from both fluid and solid samples, such as liver, in forensic cases.


QuEChERS LC–MS/MS Liver specimen Solid tissue analysis Benzodiazepines Zopiclone 



This work was supported in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) 24790637.

Conflict of interest

There are no financial or other relations that could lead to a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiyotaka Usui
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masaki Hashiyada
    • 1
  • Yoshie Hayashizaki
    • 1
  • Yui Igari
    • 1
  • Tadashi Hosoya
    • 1
  • Jun Sakai
    • 1
  • Masato Funayama
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Forensic Medicine, Department of Public Health and Forensic MedicineTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan

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