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Confident profiling of controlled substances using GC–TOF MS

This study describes the use of GC–TOF MS for comprehensive profiling of seized drug samples, for confident identification of controlled substances, as well as adulterants and cutting agents.

The analysis of controlled substances, such as heroin and cocaine, is commonly performed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC–MS). However, the quadrupole MS systems traditionally used for GC are restricted in terms of sensitivity when used for screening (i.e. in scan mode). Increased sensitivity may be obtained with selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode, but then whole-sample screening is not viable, resulting in compounds of interest being overlooked. The spectra obtained are also affected by the phenomenon of spectral skew, which could increase the potential for false-positive or false-negative results, as well as cause difficulties with spectral deconvolution.

BenchTOF2™ time-of-flight mass spectrometers (TOF MS) can address these challenges by providing high-sensitivity screening, with excellent spectral fidelity, for confident identification of targets and non-targets in complex samples. In this study, we demonstrate these advantages by the analysis of a selection of seized drug samples using GC–TOF MS. Furthermore, smart software tools will be demonstrated, which save time during data analysis for fast and simple comparisons of complex chromatograms.

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