Potential application of amino acids in analytical toxicology.


Medical Toxicology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]


The ability of extraction and preconcentration of small quantities of substances from biological samples is important in analytical sciences, particularly forensic medicine. In the present study, we evaluated the binding potential of amino acids to produce a new solid phase microextraction fiber based on carbon nanotube (CNTs) for extraction and preconcentration of small amount of morphine in urine sample. Raw CNTs were first carboxylated and then functionalized with 3 amino acids including glutamate, arginine, and cysteine. Functionalization was confirmed by FTIR analysis, Raman spectroscopy and SEM imaging. The functionalized CNTs were coated on polypropylene hollow fiber and used for preconcentration. The results of HPLC analysis in isocratic elution mode using acetonitrile-sodium acetate (10:90, v/v; pH 4; 0.01 M) as the mobile phase showed that amino acids are able to adsorb morphine and the prepared fiber could preconcentrate a very low concentration of morphine (0.25 ppb) in urine matrix. In addition, the fiber was successfully used for up to 30 times with no significant loss in the extraction efficiency. Lowest limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantitation (LOQ) was 0.07 and 0.25, respectively. Also, the lowest and best recovery of the fiber was 87.8% and 139% at LOQ, which belonged to glutamate and arginine, respectively. The fibers based on amino acids can be used for the detection of a small amount of morphine in biological samples, which are not detectable by conventional methods. Simple mechanism of these fibers in preconcentrating morphine makes them a novel candidate for detection of other opiates and drugs of abuses in crime scene investigations and postmortem examinations several days after exposure.


Amino acid,Carbon nanotube,HPLC,Hollow fiber-solid phase microextraction (HF-SPME),Morphine,Preconcentration,

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