Biological fluids such as urine, saliva and whole blood were analyzed for contents of drugs by a new combination of desorption electrospray ionizationmass spectrometry (DESI-MS) and thin liquid membrane extraction (TLME). Analytes from the sample were extracted into a thin liquid membrane of hexadecane deposited on a porous Teflon membrane, from which they were subsequently analyzed directly by DESI. The total analysis time was 15 minutes for analysis of several samples with a potential analysis time of less than a minute per sample. Thanks to the pre-concentration and sample clean-up built into the method, methadone was detected in urine in full-scan mode with an LOD of 4 ng mL−1, while amitriptyline, nortriptyline and pethidine showed LODs of 17 ng mL−1. Quantification was possible for several basic drugs using one common internal standard, providing relative accuracies in the range of 10–30%. A reliability test was performed on 20 samples with methadone, amitriptyline, nortriptyline and pethidine in urine, showing that none of the samples having concentrations above the LOD were missed and no false positives were found. Diphenhydramine and one of its metabolites were detected in authentic samples of urine and saliva, and methadone was detected from a whole-blood sample spiked to a concentration of 100 ng mL−1. The method has several advantages, such as extremely low price in consumables, the possibility of fast analysis of very crude biofluids such as whole blood and the potential for a very high sample throughput.
This article is Open Access
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