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The Role of Diode Array Ultraviolet Detection for the Identification of Synthetic Cathinones

NCJ Number
Drug Testing and Analysis Volume: 9 Issue: 10 Dated: 2017 Pages: 1512-1521
Date Published
10 pages

This article shows the utility of diode array ultraviolet (UV) detection for aiding in the identification of synthetic cathinones, including different sub-classes and positional isomers.


For 35 synthetic cathinones, unique UV spectra were obtained for seven sub-classes, including mostly beta ketones, where position and type of substitution on benzene rings give rise to differences in UV maxima and relative intensity of the spectral bands. This aspect is key to distinguishing positional isomers that contain differences in R substitution (mono and di) around the benzene ring, which provides complementary information to electron ionization mass spectrometry, where the latter technique cannot distinguish between these types of positional isomers. In addition, it is possible to ascertain the substitution position based on the UV spectra. For ten sets of positional isomers, it was possible to distinguish most of the positional isomers within a set. For ultra-high performance super critical fluid chromatography (UHPSFC) versus reversed phase ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC), there was at least a 10 nm blue shift in UV maximum (shift to shorter wavelengths). This highlights the importance of considering the effect of mobile phase on the UV maximum when performing method development in UHPSFC. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017