Comparison of six derivatizing agents for the determination of nine synthetic cathinones using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
Six acylation reagents have been compared for their derivatisation potential towards nine synthetic cathinones by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The evaluated reagents were pentafluoropropionic anhydride (PFPA), trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFA), chlorodifluoroacetic anhydride (CLF2AA), heptafluorobutyric anhydride (HFBA), acetic anhydride (AA) and propionic anhydride (PA). The synthetic cathinones included flephedrone (4-fluoromethcathinone or 4-FMC), mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone or 4-MMC), pentedrone (also known as α-methylamino-valerophenone), methedrone (4-methoxy-N-methcathinone, p-methoxymethcathinone), methylone (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone or bk-MDMA), butylone (β-keto-N-methylbenzodioxolylbutanamine or bk-MBDB), ethylone (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylcathinone MDEC or bk-MDEA), pyrovalerone (4-methyl-β-keto-prolintane) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The derivatizing agents were optimised for incubation time and temperature with some important validation parameters studied to evaluate derivatisation reactions. The anhydrides studied proved to be suitable for synthetic cathinones – all of them showing RSD and accuracy below 20%. PFPA and HFBA followed by TFA are the best choice of derivatising agents based on validation parameters. Five internal standards were evaluated with good results. Three way ANOVA, interference, fragmentation patterns and high peak area values at a concentration of 0.50 μg ml−1 were evaluated and discussed. AA and PA derivatives give high relative abundance for most drugs examined. HFBA gives more ions and multi-fragmentation patterns.