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Quick Test for Determination of N-Bombs (Phenethylamine Derivatives, NBOMe) Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: A Comparison between Photodiode Array and Amperometric Detection

Elbardisy, Hadil M and Foster, Christopher W and Marron, Jack and Mewis, Ryan E and Sutcliffe, Oliver B and Belal, Tarek S and Talaat, Wael and Daabees, Hoda G and Banks, Craig E (2019) Quick Test for Determination of N-Bombs (Phenethylamine Derivatives, NBOMe) Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: A Comparison between Photodiode Array and Amperometric Detection. ACS Omega. ISSN 2470-1343

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: The emergence of a new class of novel psychoactive substances, N-benzyl-substituted phenethylamine derivatives so-called “NBOMes” or “Smiles”, in the recreational drug market has forced the development of new sensitive analytical methodologies for their detection and quantitation. NBOMes’ hallucinogenic effects mimic those of the illegal psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and are typically sold as LSD on blotter papers, resulting in a remarkable number of fatalities worldwide. In this article, four halide derivatives of NBOMe, namely, 2-(4-fluoro-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethan-1-amine, 2-(4-chloro-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethan-1-amine, 2-(4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2- methoxybenzyl)ethan-1-amine, and 2-(4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethan-1-amine, were detected and quantified simultaneously using a high-performance liquid chromatographic method, and two detection systems were compared: photodiode array detection (detection system I) and amperometric detection via a commercially available impinging jet flow-cell system incorporating embedded graphite screen-printed macroelectrodes (detection system II). Under optimized experimental conditions, linear calibration plots were obtained in the concentration range of 10−300 and 20−300 μg mL−1 , for detection systems I and II, respectively. Detection limit (limit of detection) values were between 4.6−6.7 and 9.7−18 μg mL−1, for detection systems I and II, respectively. Both detectors were employed for the analysis of the four NBOMe derivatives in the bulk form, in the presence of LSD and adulterants commonly found in street samples (e.g. paracetamol, caffeine, and benzocaine). Furthermore, the method was applied for the analysis of simulated blotter papers, and the obtained percentage recoveries were satisfactory, emphasizing its advantageous applicability for the routine analysis of NBOMes in forensic laboratories.

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