Skip to main content

Headspace sampling and detection of cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana via volatile markers in the presence of potential interferences by solid phase microextraction–ion mobility spectrometry (SPME-IMS)

Abstract

The successful air sampling and detection of cocaine, methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA), and marijuana using SPME-IMS achieved by targeting their volatile markers (methyl benzoate, piperonal, and terpenes, respectively) is presented. Conventional methods of direct air sampling for drugs are ineffective because the parent compounds of these drugs have very low vapor pressures, making them unavailable for headspace sampling. Instead of targeting the parent drugs, IMS was set at the optimal operating conditions (determined in previous work) in order to detect their volatile chemical markers. SPME is an effective and rapid air sampling technique for the preconcentration of analytes which is especially useful in confined spaces such as cargo containers, where the volatile marker compounds of drugs can be found in sufficient concentrations. By sampling the air using a 100 μm polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) SPME fiber for as little as one minute, enough mass of the targeted volatile markers in the headspace of a quart-sized metal paint can (gallon, ∼1101 cm3) which contained sub-gram quantities of the drug samples was recovered for IMS detection. Additionally, several potentially interfering compounds found in goods commonly shipped in cargo containers were tested individually as well as in mixtures with the drugs. No peak interferences were observed for MDMA or marijuana, and minimal peak interferences were found for cocaine.

a Overlay spectrum of a five-minute SPME headspace extraction of cocaine HCl, methyl benzoate standard and a blank fiber. b Overlay spectrum of a 30-minute SPME headspace extraction of MDMA tablets, piperonal standard and a blank fiber. c Overlay spectrum of a ten-minute SPME headspace extraction of marijuana and a blank fiber

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5a–c

References

  1. Chalmers A (2007) Proc SPIE 6736:67360M

  2. Neudorfl P, Hupe M, Pion P, Lawrence A, Drolet G, Rigdon S, Su CW, Kunz T, Ulwick S, Hoglund D, Wingo JJ, Shier P (1997) Proc SPIE 2937:26–34

  3. Orphan VJ, Muenchau E, Gormley J, Richardson R (2005) Appl Radiat Isotopes 63:723–732

    Google Scholar 

  4. Witus G, Gerhart G, Smuda W, Andrusz H (2006) Proc SPIE 6230:623004

  5. Ewing RG, Atkinson DA, Eiceman GA, Ewing GJ (2001) Talanta 54:515–529

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Harper RJ, Almirall JR, Furton KG (2005) Talanta 67:313–327

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Eiceman GA, Karpas Z (2005) Ion mobility spectrometry, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL

  8. Lorenzo N, Wan TL, Harper RJ, Hsu Y, Chow M, Rose S, Furton KG (2003) Anal Bioanal Chem 376:1212–1224

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal detector Guidelines (SWGDOG) (2007) SWGDOG SC8—Substance detector dogs, narcotics section. http://www.swgdog.org/. Accessed 3/10/2008

  10. Greenberg D, Grigoriev AG, James R, Lynds P, Nacson S (2004) Proc 8th Int Symp on Analysis and Detection of Explosives, Ottawa, Canada, 6–10 June 2004, pp 67–80

  11. Furton KG, Hong Y, Hsu Y, Lue T, Rose S, Walton J (2002) J Chromatogr Sci 40:147–155

    Google Scholar 

  12. Perr JM, Furton KG, Almirall JR (2005) J Sep Sci 28:177–183

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Karukstis KK, Van Hecke GR (2003) Chemistry connections: the chemical basis of everyday phenomena, 2nd edn (Complementary Science Series). Academic, San Diego, CA

  14. Kim SH, Spangler GE (1992) In: Clement RE (ed) Instrumentation of trace organic monitoring. Lewis, Boca Raton, FL, pp 65–117

  15. Lai H, Guerra P, Joshi M, Almirall JR (2008) J Sep Sci 31:402–412

    Google Scholar 

  16. Wang Y, Nacson S, Pawliszyn J (2007) Anal Chim Acta 582:50–54

    Google Scholar 

  17. Liu X, Nacson S, Grigoriev A, Lynds P, Pawliszyn J (2006) Anal Chim Acta 559:159–165

    Google Scholar 

  18. Pawliszyn J (1997) Solid phase microextraction: theory and practice. Wiley-VCH, New York

  19. Baumbach IJ (2006) Anal Bioanal Chem 384:1059–1070

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. McCready J, Su CW, Rigdon SW (1997) Proc SPIE 2937:150–153

  21. Morris LA, Smith DE, Khan SM (1994) Proc SPIE 2276:6

  22. Neudorfl PHM, Pilon P, Lawrence AH (1997) Anal Chem 69:4283–4285

    Google Scholar 

  23. Drolet G (1999) Trace vapor detection. US Patent 5859362

  24. Collins DC, Lee ML (2002) Anal Bioanal Chem 372:66–73

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Vautz W, Baumbach IJ, Uhde E (2006) Anal Bioanal Chem 384:980–986

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the Miami-Dade Police Department, Crime Laboratory Bureau for permitting the SPME sampling of the drugs to be conducted in their laboratory. GE Securities is acknowledged for the donation of the Itemiser 2 used in this research. Some portions of this work were possible through funding from the National Institute of Justice (2006-DN-BX-K027), and Sensor Concepts and Applications. Funding for Hanh Lai is acknowledged from the Kauffman Doctoral Student Fellowship by The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Eugenio Pino Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to José R. Almirall.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lai, H., Corbin, I. & Almirall, J.R. Headspace sampling and detection of cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana via volatile markers in the presence of potential interferences by solid phase microextraction–ion mobility spectrometry (SPME-IMS). Anal Bioanal Chem 392, 105–113 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-008-2229-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-008-2229-z

Keywords