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Article

Structure Assignment of Seized Products Containing Cathinone Derivatives Using High Resolution Analytical Techniques

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CQM—Centro de Química da Madeira, Campus Universitário da Penteada, Universidade da Madeira, 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
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Laboratório de Polícia Científica da Polícia Judiciária, Novo edifício-sede da Polícia Judiciária, Rua Gomes Freire, 1169-007 Lisboa, Portugal
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Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ciências Forenses, I.P., Polo das Ciências de Saúde (Polo III), Azinhaga de Santa Comba, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
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Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra, Azinhaga de Santa Comba, Celas, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
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Faculdade de Ciências Exatas e da Engenharia, Campus da Penteada, Universidade da Madeira, 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cornelius Hess
Metabolites 2021, 11(3), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030144
Received: 1 February 2021 / Revised: 22 February 2021 / Accepted: 24 February 2021 / Published: 27 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolite Analysis in Forensic Toxicology)
The innovation of the new psychoactive substances (NPS) market requires the rapid identification of new substances that can be a risk to public health, in order to reduce the damage from their use. Twelve seized products suspected to contain illicit substances were analyzed by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Synthetic cathinones (SCat) were found in all products, either as a single component or in mixtures. Infrared spectra of all products were consistent with the molecular structure of SCat, showing an intense absorption band at 1700–1674 cm−1, corresponding to the carbonyl stretching, a medium/strong peak at 1605–1580 cm−1, indicating stretching vibrations in the aromatic ring (C=C) and bands with relative low intensity at frequencies near 2700–2400 cm−1, corresponding to an amine salt. It was possible to identify a total of eight cathinone derivatives by GC-MS and NMR analysis: 4′-methyl-α-pyrrolidinohexanophenone (MPHP), α-pyrrolidinohexanophenone (α-PHP), 3-fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC), methedrone, methylone, buphedrone, N-ethylcathinone, and pentedrone. Among the adulterants found in these samples, caffeine was the most frequently detected substance, followed by ethylphenidate. These results highlight the prevalence of SCat in seized materials of the Portuguese market. Reference standards are usually required for confirmation, but when reference materials are not available, the combination of complementary techniques is fundamental for a rapid and an unequivocal identification of such substances. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemical characterization; new psychoactive substances; synthetic cathinones; FTIR; GC-MS; NMR chemical characterization; new psychoactive substances; synthetic cathinones; FTIR; GC-MS; NMR
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gonçalves, J.L.; Alves, V.L.; Aguiar, J.; Caldeira, M.J.; Teixeira, H.M.; Câmara, J.S. Structure Assignment of Seized Products Containing Cathinone Derivatives Using High Resolution Analytical Techniques. Metabolites 2021, 11, 144. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030144

AMA Style

Gonçalves JL, Alves VL, Aguiar J, Caldeira MJ, Teixeira HM, Câmara JS. Structure Assignment of Seized Products Containing Cathinone Derivatives Using High Resolution Analytical Techniques. Metabolites. 2021; 11(3):144. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030144

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gonçalves, João L., Vera L. Alves, Joselin Aguiar, Maria J. Caldeira, Helena M. Teixeira, and José S. Câmara 2021. "Structure Assignment of Seized Products Containing Cathinone Derivatives Using High Resolution Analytical Techniques" Metabolites 11, no. 3: 144. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030144

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