Drug Analysis: Comparing Pretreatment Techniques using SPE

The results are in! I finally have gotten results from my experiments.  Not only did we compare the effect of different sorbents with SPE, but we also showed how pretreatment using SPE gives better results in drug analysis.  The use of the two sorbents gave similar results when they were compared indicating both are effective for pretreatment of drugs for forensic analysis.  We could state that due to the faster recovery time of pretreatment with MIP 2 it could be more efficient in the labs.  Pretreatment was shown to benefit the analysis of drugs because without pretreatment with SPE, only a small amount of the target drug was detected.  Future experiments will be done and these include using methamphetamine along with amphetamines for drug testing, the use of other commercially available sorbents for comparison with the presently used and using a variety of different biological fluids for analysis like blood.

All great things come to an end, but it is bitter sweet.  I have concluded research and have produced a poster; presenting our results.  The week of spring break, my fellow research comrades and I presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national conference in Dallas, Texas.  This was my first time presenting a poster to an audience, but it was a wonderful experience and I loved doing it.  I learned a lot from attending this conference and met a lot of great people that work in the field of chemistry.  We met the science advisor for the AMC television series “Breaking Bad”, Donna Nelson, she is campaigning to become the head of ACS.

I will be presenting my research at many more conferences this semester.  I will be presenting my research every weekend for the next month.  I will present at the Dyson’s Society of Fellows, the Eastern Colleges Scientific Conferences (ECSC)  at Marist College, Wayne Patterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium  and ACS URS where I will be doing an oral presentation that will be also presented at the Undergraduate Student – Faculty Research Initiative  showcase day.  It will be a long journey but I am ready for the challenge, and I look forward to gaining more experience.

 

The Drug Analysis using Solid Phase Extraction of Amphetamine with Different Sorbents

I finally have gotten results from my experiments.  Water and synthetic urine samples w spiked with amphetamine and examined using mass spectrometry (MS).  We tested the instrument in both positive and negative modes to determine which would give a better peak when analyzing the samples.  In the negative mode, no peak was present at 134 indicating it could not be ionized.  There was a peak present at around 91 in the positive mode which indicated a transition from 136.  With this information we decided to run all of our samples using MS. in positive mode.  We tested the two MIP sorbents; each with the two spiked samples of water and synthetic urine.  The four spectra showed a higher peak at around 91 indicating amphetamine was present.  Not only did we compare the effect of different sorbents with SPE, but we also showed how pretreatment using SPE gives better results in drug analysis.  Faster recovery times for pretreatment with MIP 2 could be a more efficient sorbent in crime labs as compared to MIP 1.  The use of SPE as a pretreatment technique concentrates the specific sample in order to achieve a higher peak on the spectra.  Our standard solutions were tested using MS to show the difference in sample analysis without pretreatment.  The peak for amphetamine was barely detected in the synthetic urine samples without using the SPE for pretreatment.  This showed that using a pretreatment techniques to concentrate the sample before preforming instrumental analysis gives a better result and higher recovery of the sample.  Future experiments will be done and these include using methamphetamine along with amphetamines for drug testing, the use of other commercially available sorbents for comparison with the presently used and using a variety of different biological fluids for analysis like blood.

In concluding our research, we have produced a poster presenting our results.  The week of spring break, my fellow research group members and I presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Dallas, Texas.  This was my first time presenting a poster to an audience, but it was a wonderful experience and I loved doing it.  I learned a lot from attending this conference and met a lot of great people that work in the field of chemistry.  We met the science advisor for the AMC television series “Breaking Bad”, Donna Nelson, she is campaigning to become the head of ACS.  I will be presenting my research in many more conferences this semester.  I will be presenting my research every weekend for the next month.  I will present at the Dyson’s Society of Fellows, the Eastern Colleges Scientific Conferences (ECSC) at Marist College, Wayne Patterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium and ACS URS where I will be doing an oral presentation that will be also presented at the Undergraduate Student – Faculty Research Initiative  showcase day.  It will be a long journey but I am ready for the challenge, and I look forward to gaining more experience.

This program is a great experience.  I have learned a lot not only from doing my research through papers and online, but also in the chemistry labs.  I have learned a lot about the instruments I worked with even though some of them we were unable to get results.  I have become an expert in changing the columns for the HPLC instrument.  The GC-MS was very temperamental in providing us with solid results from different concentrated samples, but I learned how to change some aspects of protocols to better acclimate to the instruments present to us in the labs.  We went to Haskin’s lab to use the mass spec. to help analyze our drug samples when all other instruments have failed.  I feel doing research related to my field of study has broadened my experience and I am considering in pursuing a professional career in forensic research.  Attending conferences has been an amazing gift to share the hard work we have put together to minds to listen and learn.  This would not have been possible without the impeccable Chemistry Department at Pace University.  I would like to thank Dr. Dai, Dr. Yarlett, and Dr. Upmacis in providing some helpful techniques and materials needed to continue my research.  Most of all I would like to thank Dr. Elmer-Rico Mojica! He is not only a professional and a down to earth mentor, but an individual who does what is necessary to help us succeed in everything that we do in the labs and outside of the chemistry department.  He is a wonderful professor, mentor, and friend and without him, this research would not have been impossible.

Methamphetamine and Amphetamine: Illicit Drugs with a Problem, but Nothing GC and SPE can’t Fix

We are in a bit of a time crunch at the moment.  I have been performing my research in all my free time in order to finish within the next couple of weeks.  I need to complete my data and construct a poster prior to the National American Chemical Society (ACS) Conference in Dallas, Texas the week of spring break.  I will be presenting a poster presentation for 2 hours.  I am both really excited and nervous at the same time.  My first time presenting and it will be at a national conference.

Now to the good stuff.  We have started this semester off right considering I had no data at the end of the fall semester.  Instead of using the LC (Liquid Chromatography) instrument we have decided to use the GC (Gas Chromatography).  We have obtained stock solution of methamphetamine and amphetamine and started making different dilutions to determine the minimal amount of these illicit drugs that could be detected.  We quickly figured out that the concentrations of the dilutions were too small at varying volumes and instead we tried different volumes from the stock solutions of methamphetamine and amphetamine.  Using 1 µL of these solutions proved successful and we are now ready to begin the bulk of our research.

We tried each drug separately to determine if the instrument could confirm these solutions, and then mixed the two together to verify if the GC instrument could detect the combination of drugs.  Each run was a success, and now we are ready to utilize the SPE (solid phase extraction) instrument.  I have made the solutions and took inventory of the reagents needed to perform multiple trials on the instrument.  On Thursday (2/20/14), I will be running the SPE to determine which sorbent has the best retention volume of methamphetamine and amphetamine.  After the SPE is run we need to utilize the GC once more to verify the amount of illicit drugs present in the sample.

I have been enjoying my time with my mentor, Elmer Mojica, and my fellow researchers in the labs.  I cannot wait to travel to Texas to present my research and gain experience in the world of Chemistry.

Drug Analysis using Liquid Chromotography for Determination of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine in Solid Phase Extraction by Testing Sorbents

I have been awaiting the day to begin my experiments in the lab, because all I have been up to is doing analytical research in determining the right protocol to use for amphetamine and methamphetamine, a derivative of amphetamine.  The research in the lab was delayed in waiting for the instrument’s parts, sorbents, and chemicals to arrive.  While waiting for my materials to arrive, I have been researching on instruments and practices that could be utilized in order to quantify methamphetamine and amphetamine.  Methods such as liquid chromatography (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) will be used to quantify methamphetamine and amphetamine. These methods will be used to evaluate the performance of different commercially available sorbents used in solid phase extraction (SPE) of amphetamine and methamphetamine in water and synthetic urine.

As of today, I have first-hand experience of using the LC instrument with a C-18 column I became knowledgeable in preparing solvents especially the need to filter them before the use of the instrument.   I also become used to in changing the column of the instrument ensuring that it was put properly hence prevented any leaks during run. I was also able to know the importance of purging the solvent lines especially when putting in new solvents. I am developing a method in detecting amphetamine by adjusting the solvent composition.  I prepared a standard solution of amphetamine and analyzed it using the instrument.  We are still optimizing the solvent composition and we hope by the end of fall semester, we have resolved this problem and start doing the SPE. In addition, we are hoping that we get clearance for the purchase of methamphetamine from DEA.

I am very happy that I am actually be utilizing the analytical and instrumental knowledge from classes to perform research.  Thanks again to Professor Mojica for mentoring me and giving me a bunch of different opportunities.  For example, I had the opportunity to attend the ACS NERM conference in New Haven, Connecticut and got accepted to present a poster at the ACS National Meeting this coming spring semester.

The Drug Analysis using Solid Phase Extraction of Methemphetamine with Different Sorbents

Hello, my name is Robert Marvin, better known as Bobby.  I am a senior at Pace double majoring in both Forensic Science and Chemistry and minoring in Biology.  I have started my research this fall with Prof. Elmer-Rico Mojica on developing  methods for innovative drug testing techniques.

Although most of the materials and equipment to be used have been purchased, I have yet to start doing experiments because of the most important ingredient needed in my research: methamphetamine. We are still awaiting clearance from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) for the purchase of this illicit drug. While awaiting for the order, I was asked to look into the price of synthetic urine and I have been given a technical book on the concept of solid phase extraction (SPE) to be read.

I am currently researching scientific journals and scientific papers in order to get a broad spectrum of knowledge about the properties of methamphetamine, preparation of solutions, and mechanics of SPE I am beginning to understand how drug testing is being done using  various chromatographic techniques. First, standard  drugs such as methamphetamine in solutions of different concentration will be injected in either liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (LC/MS) or gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC/MS) in order to determine its specific chemical structure by way of signature spectra. The size of the peak is dependent on the amount of the injected sample. After which, known amount of drugs will be added to water sample or synthetic urine. These samples will be extracted by SPE and will be analyzed and compared with the initial results of different concentrations. This way I can determine which is the most effective SPE sorbents in recovering methamphetamine. Solid phase extraction (SPE) is used in high resolution separation of different chemicals and molecules to determine if a drug is present.  Manipulation of different factors of preparation and testing in SPE over many variables that can be used to determine the best retention of methamphetamine present in the synthetic urine solutions.

This analytical and instrumental research on drug analysis of methamphetamine with Prof. Mojica is related to my prospective career field.  I ideally hope to be a part of the FBI, but my research has broadened my career path to prospects of being a DEA employee.  SPE is used in the crime labs by forensic scientist to examine many biological substances like urine, blood, sperm, and saliva.  I believe my participation in this program and research over the next year will give me the experience and knowledge in order for me to become a better scientist.