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Purchasing Mass Spec Technology for Your Forensic Lab

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What does every scientist think about in the lab? Validation. This is the feeling I encountered while reading a recent scientific report on nature.com. What struck me was not only the study itself which discounted cannabinoid incorporation into hair as a method for confirming consumption, but the test was carried out on the SCIEX QTRAP® 5500 linear ion-trap mass spectrometer. Here the authors produced a comprehensive LC-MS/MS study in which segmented hair samples (1 cm segments) were analyzed for THCA-A. Instead of using established GC/MS methods they were able to prove the validity of false positives as they applied to the presence of cannabinoids in hair samples.

Perhaps you have a study waiting to be published. Alternatively, maybe you are looking to push your lab into more extensive forensic testing this coming year. High-Resolution Accurate-Mass MS such as the X500R is proving to be the must-have instrument in every lab. However, how do you choose the right technology for your team? What is right for one lab is not the best option for another. Before you start spending, it is good to know some instruments come with way more technology than your lab might ever need while others are simply too routine. If you are in the market for mass spectrometry, here are some key points to remember:

  • Price point. Stay on budget while being sure to investigate whether or not instrumentation is dependable and the integrity of the results does not come into any doubt when challenged in court.  
  • Reliability and Testing Time. Can you prep your samples and run a method without interruption?
  • How many samples can you run? Do you have the solution to address the increasing demand for you to perform forensic drug analysis? Maybe the Multiplexing Solution (Steps 123) from SCIEX could revolutionize your forensic toxicology workflows.
  • Support. What type of after sales service and support is available to you? If your instrumentation is down, so is the lab. Be sure you have access to 24/7 customer support.
Download the forensics toolkit

The toolkit is loaded with research information including:

  • The exclusive whitepaper, Using MS/MSall SWATH® Acquisition for Forensic Drugs Screening with SCIEX TripleTOF® 4600/5600+ LC-MS/MS System
  • Two application notes. The first being, A High Throughput Automated Sample Preparation and Analysis Workflow for Comprehensive Forensic Toxicology Screening using LC-MS/MS. The second, High throughput automated screening of 100+ forensic drugs in urine.
  • Invitation to a webcast, Using QTRAP Technology to Provide Accurate Identification and Confirmation beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
  • The ever-popular on-demand eSeminar that touches upon the effects of THC-COOH in oral fluids by LC-MS/MS

Forensic Toxicology Tests

The above article certainly brings into question the integrity of acquired results when challenged in the courtroom. If your lab is using old technology, we want to hear from you. Tell us what kind of experiments you are running and what are the setbacks you have encountered?

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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