Amphetamines Type Substances (ATS), which include amphetamine (AMP), methamphetamine (MA), 4-methylamphetamine (4-MA), 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine (MDEA), cathinone (CAT), and ephedrine (EPH), are widely acknowledged as common identified drugs of abuse.  Alternative, new-age synthetic cathinones such as methcathinone (MC) and mephedrone (MEP) are frequently observed in forensic toxicology cases but were originally marketed as “bath salts”. Their stimulant, euphoric, anorectic effects appear to be the main reason they have gained popularity in the illicit market.

            In a new paper authored by Khaled M Mohamed and Abdulsallam Bakdash published in Analytical Chemistry Insights ((2017) 12 1–16), UCT’s high-puritiy fluoroacyl derivatization reagents were employed in the analysis of ATS extracted from oral fluid (OF) samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The use of OF for drug testing has many advantages over conventional matrices, it is safe to collect and can offer a quick and noninvasive specimen and reduce the potential for adulteration.

           In this study, HFAA, PFAA, and TFAA derivatizing reagents were all compared as for the analysis and separation of 10 amphetamines and cathinones in extracted oral fluid samples. The target compounds were AMP, MA, MDA, MDMA, MDEA, CAT, MCT, MEP, and EPH using AMP-D5, MA-D5, MDA-D5, MDMA-D5, and MDEA-D5 as internal standards (IS). The analytes and IS were extracted from 0.5mL of oral fluid and then derivatized with HFAA, PFPA, or TFAA at 70°C for 30 minutes. Samples were evaporated to dryness under a stream of nitrogen and reconstituted with 50 µL of ethyl acetate for final analysis by GC-MS.

 The limits of quantification ranged between 2.5ng/ mL to 10ng/mL. The calibration graphs were linear in the range of 5 or 10 to 1,000 ng/mL based upon the analyte of interest. In regards to sensitivity, the PFAA was shown to be the best for derivatization of the target compounds prior to GC-MS analysis.

            This study demonstrates the efficient use of fluoroacyl reagents for the analysis of ATS's extracted from biological samples. When analysts require the most diverse, reliable derivatization reagents for GC-MS analysis, UCT is the first choice.  For more information about UCT derivatization reagents, visit