Fast and Simultaneous Analysis of Ethanol Metabolites and Barbiturates

Feb 16, 2017 | Blogs, Forensic | 0 comments

While most analytes in forensic applications analyze well with positive ionization, there are analytes that show better ionization efficiency with negative ionization, for example, acidic compounds. These analytes include ethanol metabolites such as ethyl glucuronide (ETG), ethyl sulfate (ETS), and the barbiturates such as amobarbital, butabarbital, butalbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, and secobarbital.


In this technical note, researchers demonstrated a method to simultaneously analyze ethanol metabolites and barbiturates in human urine using QTRAP®/Triple Quad 4500 LC-MS/MS system. Sample preparation is based on a simple “dilute and shoot” methodology. The method has a total runtime of 5 minutes, shows good sensitivity and is very robust. More than 800 continuous injections of human urine samples were performed on a single LC column with no deterioration in performance evident.

How does this test play out in real-world scenarios? ETG and ETS are biomarkers for determining the presence of alcohol over the past 80 hours where ETG is the direct metabolite of alcohol. ETG is only detected if alcohol has been consumed. What is more is that urine tests are the most common and inexpensive choice when testing for drug use and can be easily captured. Making sure results stand up in court, but also being able to run simultaneous drug screenings will help your lab keep up with sample workloads while also producing reliable results.

Telling the PFAS story with pine needles

As an ever-expanding group of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) require novel techniques to monitor their current and historical presence in the environment. Concerns over exposure to PFAS chemicals continue to grow, with some having known toxic characteristics and the potential effects of others remaining unknown.1 In addition, while PFAS are one of the most persistent synthetic chemicals to date, most of them hardly degrade in the environment.2 So, how long do traces of PFAS last in our environment? Two tools used to help answer this question are active samplers and passive samplers.

Back to the new basics: Part 3 | LC vs. LC-MS and what it means for your lab

In this final installment of our “Back to the new basics” series, we take one more look at analytical techniques and best practices in the lab, and opportunities to improve efficiency. Here, we explore the basic principles of high-performance liquid chromatography (LC) and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), and how these techniques can affect a lab’s efficiency and productivity.

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