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Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinone-derivatives and their accompanying adulterants in "legal high" products.
Analyst. 2014 Jan 21; 139(2):389-400.A

Abstract

The production and abuse of new psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs" which mimic traditional drugs of abuse is becoming a global epidemic. Traditional analytical methodologies exist which can provide confirmatory analysis but there is a requirement for an on-the-spot analytical screening tool that could be used to determine whether a substance, or sample matrix contains such legal, or formally "legal highs". In this paper the electrochemical sensing of (±)-methcathinone and related compounds at a range of commercially available electrode substrates is explored. We demonstrate for the first time that this class of "legal highs" are electrochemically active providing a novel sensing protocol based upon their electrochemical oxidation. Screen-printed graphite sensing platforms are favoured due to their proven ability to be mass-produced providing large numbers of reliable and reproducible electrode sensing platforms that preclude the requirement of surface pre-treatment such as mechanical polishing as is the case in the use of solid/re-usable electrode substrates. Additionally they hold potential to be used on-site potentially being the basis of an on-site legal high screening device. Consequently the electroanalytical sensing of (±)-methcathinone (3a), (±)-4′-methylmethcathinone [3b, 4-MMC, (±)-mephedrone] and (±)-4′-methyl-N-ethylcathinone (3c, 4-MEC) is explored using screen-printed sensing platforms with the effect of pH explored upon the analytical response with their analytical efficiency evaluated towards the target legal highs. Interesting at pH values below 6 the voltammetric response quantitatively changes from that of an electrochemically irreversible response to that of a quasi-reversible signature which can be used analytically. It is demonstrated for the first time that the electroanalytical sensing of (±)-methcathinone (3a), (±)-mephedrone (3b) and 4-MEC (3c) are possible with accessible linear ranges found to correspond to 16–200 μg mL(−1) for 3a (at pH 12) and 16–350 μg mL(−1) for both 3b and 3c in pH 2, with limits of detection (3σ) found to correspond to 44.5, 39.8 and 84.2 μg mL(−1) respectively. Additionally adulterants that are commonly incorporated into cathinone legal highs are electrochemically explored at both pH 2 and 12.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Chemistry and the Environment, Division of Chemistry and Environmental Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, Lancs, UK. c.banks@mmu.ac.uk.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24287637

Citation

Smith, Jamie P., et al. "Forensic Electrochemistry: the Electroanalytical Sensing of Synthetic Cathinone-derivatives and Their Accompanying Adulterants in "legal High" Products." The Analyst, vol. 139, no. 2, 2014, pp. 389-400.
Smith JP, Metters JP, Irving C, et al. Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinone-derivatives and their accompanying adulterants in "legal high" products. Analyst. 2014;139(2):389-400.
Smith, J. P., Metters, J. P., Irving, C., Sutcliffe, O. B., & Banks, C. E. (2014). Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinone-derivatives and their accompanying adulterants in "legal high" products. The Analyst, 139(2), 389-400. https://doi.org/10.1039/c3an01985c
Smith JP, et al. Forensic Electrochemistry: the Electroanalytical Sensing of Synthetic Cathinone-derivatives and Their Accompanying Adulterants in "legal High" Products. Analyst. 2014 Jan 21;139(2):389-400. PubMed PMID: 24287637.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Forensic electrochemistry: the electroanalytical sensing of synthetic cathinone-derivatives and their accompanying adulterants in "legal high" products. AU - Smith,Jamie P, AU - Metters,Jonathan P, AU - Irving,Craig, AU - Sutcliffe,Oliver B, AU - Banks,Craig E, PY - 2013/11/30/entrez PY - 2013/11/30/pubmed PY - 2014/6/26/medline SP - 389 EP - 400 JF - The Analyst JO - Analyst VL - 139 IS - 2 N2 - The production and abuse of new psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs" which mimic traditional drugs of abuse is becoming a global epidemic. Traditional analytical methodologies exist which can provide confirmatory analysis but there is a requirement for an on-the-spot analytical screening tool that could be used to determine whether a substance, or sample matrix contains such legal, or formally "legal highs". In this paper the electrochemical sensing of (±)-methcathinone and related compounds at a range of commercially available electrode substrates is explored. We demonstrate for the first time that this class of "legal highs" are electrochemically active providing a novel sensing protocol based upon their electrochemical oxidation. Screen-printed graphite sensing platforms are favoured due to their proven ability to be mass-produced providing large numbers of reliable and reproducible electrode sensing platforms that preclude the requirement of surface pre-treatment such as mechanical polishing as is the case in the use of solid/re-usable electrode substrates. Additionally they hold potential to be used on-site potentially being the basis of an on-site legal high screening device. Consequently the electroanalytical sensing of (±)-methcathinone (3a), (±)-4′-methylmethcathinone [3b, 4-MMC, (±)-mephedrone] and (±)-4′-methyl-N-ethylcathinone (3c, 4-MEC) is explored using screen-printed sensing platforms with the effect of pH explored upon the analytical response with their analytical efficiency evaluated towards the target legal highs. Interesting at pH values below 6 the voltammetric response quantitatively changes from that of an electrochemically irreversible response to that of a quasi-reversible signature which can be used analytically. It is demonstrated for the first time that the electroanalytical sensing of (±)-methcathinone (3a), (±)-mephedrone (3b) and 4-MEC (3c) are possible with accessible linear ranges found to correspond to 16–200 μg mL(−1) for 3a (at pH 12) and 16–350 μg mL(−1) for both 3b and 3c in pH 2, with limits of detection (3σ) found to correspond to 44.5, 39.8 and 84.2 μg mL(−1) respectively. Additionally adulterants that are commonly incorporated into cathinone legal highs are electrochemically explored at both pH 2 and 12. SN - 1364-5528 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24287637/Forensic_electrochemistry:_the_electroanalytical_sensing_of_synthetic_cathinone_derivatives_and_their_accompanying_adulterants_in_"legal_high"_products_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1039/c3an01985c DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -