Application of solid-phase microextraction in analytical toxicology

Pragst, Fritz
August 2007
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Aug2007, Vol. 388 Issue 7, p1393
Academic Journal
Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a miniaturized and solvent-free sample preparation technique for chromatographic–spectrometric analysis by which the analytes are extracted from a gaseous or liquid sample by absorption in, or adsorption on, a thin polymer coating fixed to the solid surface of a fiber, inside an injection needle or inside a capillary. In this paper, the present state of practical performance and of applications of SPME to the analysis of blood, urine, oral fluid and hair in clinical and forensic toxicology is reviewed. The commercial coatings for fibers or needles have not essentially changed for many years, but there are interesting laboratory developments, such as conductive polypyrrole coatings for electrochemically controlled SPME of anions or cations and coatings with restricted-access properties for direct extraction from whole blood or immunoaffinity SPME. In-tube SPME uses segments of commercial gas chromatography (GC) capillaries for highly efficient extraction by repeated aspiration–ejection cycles of the liquid sample. It can be easily automated in combination with liquid chromatography but, as it is very sensitive to capillary plugging, it requires completely homogeneous liquid samples. In contrast, fiber-based SPME has not yet been performed automatically in combination with high-performance liquid chromatography. The headspace extractions on fibers or needles (solid-phase dynamic extraction) combined with GC methods are the most advantageous versions of SPME because of very pure extracts and the availability of automatic samplers. Surprisingly, substances with quite high boiling points, such as tricyclic antidepressants or phenothiazines, can be measured by headspace SPME from aqueous samples. The applicability and sensitivity of SPME was essentially extended by in-sample or on-fiber derivatization. The different modes of SPME were applied to analysis of solvents and inhalation narcotics, amphetamines, cocaine and metabolites, cannabinoids, methadone and other opioids, fatty acid ethyl esters as alcohol markers, γ-hydroxybutyric acid, benzodiazepines, various other therapeutic drugs, pesticides, chemical warfare agents, cyanide, sulfide and metal ions. In general, SPME is routinely used in optimized methods for specific analytes. However, it was shown that it also has some capacity for a general screening by direct immersion into urine samples and for pesticides and other semivolatile substance in the headspace mode.


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