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Selective reagent ionisation-time of flight-mass spectrometry: a rapid technology for the novel analysis of blends of new psychoactive substances

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Matteo Lanza
  • Joe Acton
  • Philipp Sulzer
  • Kostiantyn Breiev
  • Simone Jürschik
  • Alfons Jordan
  • Eugen Hartungen
  • Gernot Hanel
  • Lukas Märk
  • Tilmann Märk
  • Chris A. Mayhew
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number2
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)427-431
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/02/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this study we demonstrate the potential of selective reagent ionisation-time of flight-mass spectrometry for the rapid and selective identification of a popular new psychoactive substance blend called ‘synthacaine’, a mixture that is supposed to imitate the sensory and intoxicating effects of cocaine. Reactions with H3O+ result in protonated parent molecules which can be tentatively assigned to benzocaine and methiopropamine. However, by comparing the product ion branching ratios obtained at two reduced electric field values (90 and 170 Td) for two reagent ions (H3O+ and NO+) to those of the pure chemicals, we show that identification is possible with a much higher level of confidence then when relying solely on the m/z of protonated parent molecules. A rapid and highly selective analytical identification of the constituents of a recreational drug is particularly crucial to medical personnel for the prompt medical treatment of overdoses, toxic effects or allergic reactions.