Direct thermal desorption gas chromatographic determination of toxicologically relevant concentrations of ethylene glycol in whole blood
A simple and rapid method involving thermal desorption gas chromatography (TD-GC) with flame ionisation detection has been successfully developed for the determination of ethylene glycol in whole blood. No sample extraction or derivatization steps were required. The conditions required for the direct determination of ethylene glycol in whole blood were optimised and require only the addition of the internal standard, 1,2-butanediol, to the sample. A 1 μL aliquot of the sample was then introduced to the thermal desorption unit, dried, and thermally desorbed directly to the gas chromatograph. A calibration curve was constructed over the concentration range of 1.0 to 200 mM and was found to be linear over the range investigated with an R2 value of 0.9997. The theoretical limit of detection based on 3σ was calculated to be 50.2 μM (3.11 mg L−1). No issues with carryover were recorded. No interferences were recorded from endogenous blood components or a number of commonly occurring alcohols. The proposed method was evaluated by carrying out replicate ethylene glycol determinations on fortified whole blood samples at the levels of 12.5 mM, 20.0 mM, 31.2 mM, 100 mM and 200 mM comparable to commonly reported blood levels in intoxications. Mean recoveries of between 84.8% and 107% were obtained with coefficients of variation of between 1.7% and 5.8%. These data suggest that the method holds promise for applications in toxicology, where a rapid, reliable method to confirm ethylene glycol poisoning is required.