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Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 145–153 | Cite as

Simultaneous chiral impurity analysis of methamphetamine and its precursors by supercritical fluid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry

  • Hiroki SegawaEmail author
  • Yuko T. Iwata
  • Tadashi Yamamuro
  • Kenji Kuwayama
  • Kenji Tsujikawa
  • Tatsuyuki Kanamori
  • Hiroyuki Inoue
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Impurity profiling of seized illicit methamphetamine (MA) provides information on MA manufacturing methods in clandestine laboratories, and this drug intelligence supports formulation of strategies to control MA abuse. In the present study, we developed a simultaneous chiral analysis method for MA and its precursors using supercritical fluid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry equipped with an enantioselective stationary phase.

Methods

Chromatographic conditions were optimized by systematic investigation of the flow rate, temperature, back pressure, co-solvent, additive, and mobile phase composition. The ability of the developed method was evaluated using standard and authentic illicit MA.

Results

The use of a chiral selector in the stationary phase allowed for simultaneous chiral differentiation of MA and its precursors including ephedrine, norephedrine, chloropseudoephedrine, methylephedrine, dimethylamphetamine, and amphetamine. Sufficient limit of detection, repeatability of retention time, and linearity were achieved. A switching valve interfacing a chromatograph and a mass spectrometer enabled analyzing large amounts of MA directly. The application to the authentic illicit MA samples was achieved and revealed the existence of impurities, which was not detected by conventional gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.

Conclusions

The developed supercritical fluid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method could be a powerful analytical tool for MA impurity profiling.

Keywords

Methamphetamine Supercritical fluid chromatography Mass spectrometry Impurity profiling 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Brandenberger–Matsumoto Award 2018 from the Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology, and the content will be presented at The International Association of Forensic Toxicologist 2018 meeting in Ghent, Belgium. This study was also supported in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant-in Aid for Young Scientists (B) (Grant Number JP17K12994). We thank Gabrielle David, PhD from Edanz Group (www.edanzediting.com/ac) for editing a draft of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies involving human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11419_2018_446_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1061 kb)

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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroki Segawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuko T. Iwata
    • 1
  • Tadashi Yamamuro
    • 1
  • Kenji Kuwayama
    • 1
  • Kenji Tsujikawa
    • 1
  • Tatsuyuki Kanamori
    • 1
  • Hiroyuki Inoue
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Police ScienceKashiwaJapan

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