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Shimadzu:application of online automatic pretreatment and high-resolution mass spectrometry in the screening of new psychoactive substances

At present, in the context of the globalization of the drug problem, the drug situation is becoming increasingly serious. New drugs such as fentanyl, synthetic cannabinoids, and cathinones are being upgraded very quickly. The detection and determination of drug poisons as the basis for law enforcement has become particularly critical. In addition, there are many urgent scientific answers in the field of drug addiction mechanism, which also puts forward higher requirements for analysis methods.

In this context, the instrument information network is specially established“Technical application progress of mass spectrometry in drug analysis”, focus on the latest application of mass spectrometry technology in the field of drug detection, so as to enhance the information exchange between mass spectrometry experts and technicians in the industry and workers in relevant judicial and public security institutions, and provide instrument users with richer mass spectrometry products and technical solutions in the field of drug analysis. This article specially invites Shimadzu to talk about a series of product technologies and solutions in the field of new psychoactive substance analysis.

The concept of”new psychoactive substance” was first put forward in the world drug report in 2013 (NPS), which is also known as”planning drug” or”laboratory drug”. It is a drug analogue obtained by criminals through chemical structural modification of controlled drugs to avoid attack. It has similar or stronger excitatory, hallucinogenic, narcotic and other effects than traditional drugs After synthetic drugs, it is the third generation of drugs popular in the world.

At present, 188 new psychoactive substances have been listed in China, and a whole class of fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoid substances have been listed. However,Due to the strong toxicity, many varieties and rapid variation of new psychoactive substances, it has become a major problem for analysts in the field of public security and justice.Although the existing detection scheme can meet the identification needs of common drugs, the management of new psychoactive substances is still unable to fully cover the capacity of mass spectrometry screening scheme. With its super-high mass resolution, precise molecular weight and powerful database retrieval function, high-resolution mass spectrometry has been more and more widely used in chemical analysis and other fields.

Since Shimadzu entered China, it has always adhered to the enterprise philosophy of”making contributions to society with science and technology”, and is committed to solving various problems faced by the society. In the field of new psychoactive substance screening, we have also been constantly exploring, and strive to provide forward-looking solutions and professional support for customers engaged in forensic toxicology.

1. Shimadzu lcms-q-tof and new psychoactive substances high resolution mass spectrometry database scheme

Shimadzu lcms-9030, as a high-resolution and accurate mass determination mass spectrometry, has the characteristics of sub ppm mass determination error and real isotope peak shape, long-term stability, high sensitivity, the fastest acquisition speed of 100 spectra per second, high resolution, high selectivity and reliable quantification. It can easily obtain high-quality data with quasi certainty and research level quantification. In qualitative research, labsolutions insight explore software combined with the sub ppm mass accuracy and real isotope peak shape of lcms-9030 data can easily and reliably identify the molecular formula of unknown substances, and can directly online retrieve the PubChem database (containing more than 90million compound information and maps) to obtain the possible structural formula of unknown substances through the built-in search window. On this basis, users can export the original data of lcms-9030 or the results of identification molecular formula, so that they can use more search tools and databases by themselves, and can well deal with the detection of emerging new psychoactive substances.

Shimadzu clam-2030 and lcms-9030 combined system

For the rapid screening technology of new psychoactive substances, the”high resolution mass spectrometry database of 100 new psychoactive substances” was not only launched, but the compounds involved include opioids, cathinones, tryptamines, amphetamine analogues, aminoketones, aryl piperazines, indole formamide, hallucinogens and stimulants. The retention time is also included in the method package, which provides another important guarantee for the identification of new psychoactive substances, and has been well received by relevant experts and customers in the field of drug control. In addition, a high-resolution mass spectrometry database containing 902 toxic compounds has been developed to provide a general data collection method, which can be used directly without changing the chromatographic and mass spectrometry conditions. All kinds of information of compounds (compound structure, Chinese name, English name, CAS number, compound type, molecular weight, molecular formula, precursor ions, etc.) in the mass spectrometry library are clear at a glance. Such a mass spectrometry library provides users with great convenience. Users can search the mass spectrometry library according to the secondary mass spectrum of the target compound, and qualitative the target compound according to the mass spectrum matching degree of the compound screened from the library, At the same time, all kinds of information of the compound were obtained. Users can also use labsolutions software to expand the mass spectrometry library by themselves, which is simple and convenient to operate.

2. Online automatic pretreatment scheme

The commonly used biological samples in drug-related cases mainly include blood, urine, saliva and hair. Proper treatment of the samples is very important to the accuracy of the analysis results. The conventional sample pretreatment methods are usually manual liquid-liquid extraction LLE and solid-phase extraction SPE, which are cumbersome, time-consuming and easy to bring errors. Shimadzu automatic online pretreatment system clam-2030 can carry out automatic pretreatment of biological samples, eliminate human errors in the process of manual pretreatment, improve the repeatability of results and analysis efficiency, and reduce the risk of biological infection of experimenters.

Clam-2030 is developed based on Shimadzu’s rich experience in the field of coagulation analysis clinical detection system. It uses the principle of removing proteins with organic solvents and is separated through the filtration system without centrifugation. This method only needs to place the blood collection vessel at the specified position, and the system can automatically perform the whole process from sample pretreatment to LCMS analysis. Therefore, reliable data collection can be achieved, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual pre-processing and daily review work settings, and further improving the efficiency of research or business processes.      

Traditional sample processing takes more than 45 minutes to complete, and it only takes 9 minutes to use clam-2030. In the LCMS analysis process, the next sample is pretreated in parallel in clam-2030, which greatly improves the analysis flux.

Shimadzu automatic online pre-processing system clam-2030 can be used in conjunction with lcms-9030. After fully automatic sample preparation, it enters high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis, and then automatically searches through the high-resolution mass spectrometry database to screen and identify unknown drugs. The method is simple, efficient and easy to operate. The combined system has been used in actual case analysis.