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Fields & Applications Forensics, Professional Development, Pharma & Biopharma

Analyzing the Underworld: a Legal High

Almost a decade ago, I’d never really given a second thought to how the scope of my analytical research might change in the future. But change it did!

Back in 2010, I was a senior scientist at Graz University. I developed chiral separation methods for active pharmaceutical ingredients, using various high-performance separation techniques, including HPLC, GC, capillary electrophoresis, and capillary electrochromatography – all highly respectable. My former supervisor was retiring, and I was charged with taking over his lessons. I felt that one of those lessons – the analysis of illicit drugs – could do with a little more “spice.” But how?

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  1. M Taschwer, Y Seidl, S Mohr and MG Schmid, “Chiral separation of cathinone and amphetamine derivatives by HPLC/UV using sulfated ß-cyclodextrin as chiral mobile phase additive”, Chirality, 26, 411–418 (2014). DOI: 10.1002/chir.22341.
  2. S Mohr, JA Weiß, J Spreitz , MG Schmid, “Chiral separation of new cathinone- and amphetamine-related designer drugs by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using trifluoroacetyl-L-prolyl chloride as chiral derivatization reagent”, J Chromatogr A, 1269, 352–359 (2012).
  3. JAWeiß, M Taschwer, S Mohr and MG Schmid, “Indirect chiral separation of new recreational drugs by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using trifluoroacetyl-L-prolyl chloride as chiral derivatization reagent”, Chirality, 27, 211–215 (2015).
  4. K Kalíková, M Martínková, MG Schmid and E Tesařová, “Cellulose tris-(3,5-dimethylphenylcarbamate)-based chiral stationary phase for the enantioseparation of drugs in supercritical fluid chromatography: comparison with HPLC”, J Sep Sci, 41, 1471–1478 (2018).
  5. Z Aturki, MG Schmid, B Chankvetadze and S Fanali, “Enantiomeric separation of new cathinone derivatives designer drugs by capillary electrochromatography using a chiral stationary phase, based on amylose tris(5-chloro-2-methylphenylcarbamate)”, Electrophoresis, 35, 3242–3249 (2014).
  6. D Albalsa et al, “Chiral separations of cathinone and amphetamine-derivatives: Comparative study between capillary electrochromatography, supercritical fluid chromatography and three liquid chromatographic modes”, J Pharm Biomed Anal, 121, 232–243 (2016).
  7. M Taschwer, J Grascher and MG Schmid, “Development of an enantioseparation method for novel psychoactive drugs by HPLC using a Lux1 Cellulose-2 column in polar organic phase mode”, ‎Forensic Sci Int, 270, 232–240 (2017).
  8. K Kadkhodaei, L Forcher, and MG Schmid, “Separation of enantiomers of new psychoactive substances by high-performance liquid chromatography”, J Sep Sci, 41,1274–1286 (2018).
  9. S Mohr, S Pilaj, and MG Schmid, “Chiral separation of cathinone derivatives used as recreational drugs by cyclodextrin-modified capillary electrophoresis”, Electrophoresis, 33,1624–1630 (2012).
  10. M Taschwer, MG Hofer and MG Schmid, “Enantioseparation of benzofurys and other novel psychoactive compounds by CE and sulfobutylether β-cyclodextrin as chiral selector added to the BGE”, Electrophoresis, 35, 2793-2799 (2014).
  11. JS Hägele and MG Schmid, “Enantiomeric separation of novel psychoactive substances by capillary electrophoresis using (+)‐18‐crown‐6‐ tetracarboxylic acid as chiral selector”, Chirality, 30, 1019–1026, (2018). DOI: 10.1002/chir.22981

About the Author

Martin Schmid

Professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Graz, Austria.

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