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Special Issue "Forensic Analytical Chemistry"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Analytical Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ki-Jung Paeng

Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Yonsei University, yonseidae-gil 1, Wonju 26493, Korea
Interests: GC/MS; LC/MS; sample preparation; SPE; chemical sensors; spectroscopies analytical chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forensic chemistry is defined as the application of chemistry to assist in the elucidation of legal problems. Forensic chemistry embraces a large and diversified field. It includes not only the chemical side of criminal investigation, but also the analysis of any material, the quality of which may give rise to legal proceedings. Forensic chemistry is not limited to purely the chemical questions involved in legal proceedings. It is also related to the other branches of forensic science, such as chemical toxicology, legal medicine, ballistics, questioned documents, dactyloscopy, and photography.  

Forensic chemists should develop the standard methods to give accurate values and/or to detect minute quantities from latent evidence related to crime. The forensic chemist could also develop new chemicals to pursue latent evidences at the crime scene, such as finger print, foot print, blood and other biological fluids, and tissues.

Prof. Ki-Jung Paeng
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forensic analysis
  • drug analysis
  • molecular and atomic spectrochemical technique
  • electrochemical techniques
  • sensors
  • surface characterization techniques
  • mass spectrometry
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • chemometrics and statistics
  • separation sciences

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Blood and Plasma Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS) Coupled to LC-MS/MS for the Forensic Assessment of Cocaine Consumption
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25051046 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Reliable, feasible analytical methods are needed for forensic and anti-doping testing of cocaine and its most important metabolites, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, and cocaethylene (the active metabolite formed in the presence of ethanol). An innovative workflow is presented here, using minute amounts of [...] Read more.
Reliable, feasible analytical methods are needed for forensic and anti-doping testing of cocaine and its most important metabolites, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, and cocaethylene (the active metabolite formed in the presence of ethanol). An innovative workflow is presented here, using minute amounts of dried blood or plasma obtained by volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS), followed by miniaturized pretreatment by dispersive pipette extraction (DPX) and LC-MS/MS analysis. After sampling 20 µL of blood or plasma with a VAMS device, the sample was dried, extracted, and loaded onto a DPX tip. The DPX pretreatment lasted less than one minute and after elution with methanol the sample was directly injected into the LC-MS/MS system. The chromatographic analysis was carried out on a C8 column, using a mobile phase containing aqueous formic acid and acetonitrile. Good extraction yield (> 85%), precision (relative standard deviation, RSD < 6.0%) and matrix effect (< 12%) values were obtained. Analyte stability was outstanding (recovery > 85% after 2 months at room temperature). The method was successfully applied to real blood and plasma VAMS, with results in very good agreement with those of fluid samples. The method seems suitable for the monitoring of concomitant cocaine and ethanol use by means of plasma or blood VAMS testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Correlations Between Trace Elements in Selected Locations of the Human Brain in Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25020359 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Trace element distribution varies in different locations of the human brain. Several elements were found to cause various negative effects, such as neurodegeneration. In this paper, we analyzed the interactions between seven trace elements: zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), manganese (Mg), iron (Fe), copper [...] Read more.
Trace element distribution varies in different locations of the human brain. Several elements were found to cause various negative effects, such as neurodegeneration. In this paper, we analyzed the interactions between seven trace elements: zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), manganese (Mg), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr) and cobalt (Co) in individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and individuals without (control group). Brain tissue samples from 31 individuals with AUD and 31 control subjects were harvested. Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry was used for trace element determination. In the control group, there were several positive correlations between Cr, Cu, Fe and Mn. In the AUD group, positive correlations between Co and Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn were found. The majority of correlations between Zn and other elements are positive. In the studied group, Mn had strong positive correlations with Co, Cr, Cu and Fe. The strongest positive correlation found between average element concentration was between Cu and Cr. The knowledge of kinetics and metabolism of trace elements as well as the impact of alcohol on these processes is essential for understanding the pathological processes and functioning of human brain tissue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
SPME-GC/MS Analysis of Methanol in Biospecimen by Derivatization with Pyran Compound
Molecules 2020, 25(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010041 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Methanol is metabolized in the body to highly toxic formaldehyde and formate when consumed accidentally. Methanol has been typically analyzed with gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID). However, its retention time may overlap with other volatile compounds and lead to confusion. Alternative analysis of [...] Read more.
Methanol is metabolized in the body to highly toxic formaldehyde and formate when consumed accidentally. Methanol has been typically analyzed with gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID). However, its retention time may overlap with other volatile compounds and lead to confusion. Alternative analysis of methanol using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) also has limitations due to its similar molecular weight with oxygen and low boiling point. In this study, methanol and internal standard of deuterium-substituted ethanol were derivatized with 3,4-dihydro-2H-pyran under acid catalysis using concentrated hydrochloric acid. The reaction products including 2-methoxytetrahydropyran were extracted with solid-phase microextraction followed by GC/MS analysis. This method was successfully applied to measure the lethal concentration of methanol in the blood of a victim with a standard addition method to overcome the complex matrix effect of the biospecimen. Identification of the metabolite formate by ion chromatography confirmed the death cause to be methanol poisoning. This new method was a much more convenient and reliable process to measure methanol in complex matrix samples by reducing sample pretreatment effort and cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Simultaneous Determination of Etomidate and Its Major Metabolite, Etomidate Acid, in Urine Using Dilute and Shoot Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4459; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244459 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Etomidate (ET) is a commonly used sedative-hypnotic agent such as propofol to induce anesthesia, and it is rapidly metabolized to etomidate acid (ETA) in liver. Herein, a simple method to determine ET and ETA in urine simultaneously was developed using liquid chromatography–tandem mass [...] Read more.
Etomidate (ET) is a commonly used sedative-hypnotic agent such as propofol to induce anesthesia, and it is rapidly metabolized to etomidate acid (ETA) in liver. Herein, a simple method to determine ET and ETA in urine simultaneously was developed using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). A simple sample preparation method reduced the total analysis time. For all analytes, the separation was achieved in 6.5 min using reversed-phase chromatography with gradient elution. The best separation and detection of ETA was achieved using a porous graphitic carbon column. The column temperature was maintained at 30 °C to improve the efficiency and sensitivity. The calibration curves were linear over the concentration ranges of 0.4–120.0 ng/mL (ET) and 1.0–300.0 ng/mL (ETA), obtained with a weighting factor of 1/x2. The coefficients of determination (r2) were greater than 0.9958. The lower limits of quantification were 0.4 ng/mL (ET) and 1.0 ng/mL (ETA), intra-day (n = 6) and inter-day (n = 24) precision values for all compounds were less than 10.2% and 8.4%, respectively, while the intra- and inter-day accuracies were in the −9.9–2.9%, and −7.0–0.6%. The applicability of the method was examined by analyzing the urine samples obtained from ET users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Solid-Phase Extraction for Selective Determination of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in Dyed Hair by Using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2019, 24(13), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24132501 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sample preparation is an important step in the isolation of target compounds from complex matrices to perform their reliable and accurate analysis. Hair samples are commonly pulverized or processed as fine cut, depending on preference, before extraction by techniques such as solid-phase extraction [...] Read more.
Sample preparation is an important step in the isolation of target compounds from complex matrices to perform their reliable and accurate analysis. Hair samples are commonly pulverized or processed as fine cut, depending on preference, before extraction by techniques such as solid-phase extraction (SPE), liquid–liquid extraction, and other methods. In this study, a method based on hybrid solid-phase extraction (hybridSPE) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) was developed and validated for the determination of methamphetamine (MA) and amphetamine (AP) in hair. The hair samples were mechanically pulverized after washing with de-ionized water and acetone. The samples were then sonicated in methanol at 50 °C for 1 h and centrifuged at 50,000× g for 3 min. The supernatants were transferred onto the hybridSPE cartridge and extracted using 1 mL of 0.05 M methanolic hydrogen chloride. The combined solutions were evaporated to dryness, derivatized using pentafluoropropionic anhydride, and analyzed by GC–MS. Excellent linearity (R2 > 0.9998) was achieved in the ranges of 0.05–5.0 ng/mg for AP and 0.1–10.0 ng/mg for MA. The recovery was 83.4–96.8%. The intra- and inter-day accuracies were −9.4% to 5.5% and −5.1% to 3.1%, while the intra- and inter-day precisions were within 8.3% and 6.7%, respectively. The limits of detections were 0.016 ng/mg for AP and 0.031 ng/mg for MA. The validated hybridSPE method was applied to dyed hair for MA and AP extraction and compared to a methanol extraction method currently being used in our laboratory. The results showed that an additional hybridSPE step improved the recovery by 5.7% for low-concentration quality control (QC) samples and by 24.1% for high-concentration QC samples. Additionally, the hybridSPE method was compared to polymeric reversed-phase SPE methods, and the absolute recoveries for hybridSPE were 50% and 20% greater for AP (1.5 ng/mg) and MA (3.0 ng/mg), respectively. In short, the hybridSPE technique was shown to minimize the matrix effects, improving GC–MS analysis of hair. Based on the results, the proposed method proved to be effective for the selective determination of MA and AP in hair samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Modal Compositional Analysis of Layered Paint Chips of Automobiles by the Combined Application of ATR-FTIR Imaging, Raman Microspectrometry, and SEM/EDX
Molecules 2019, 24(7), 1381; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071381 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
For the forensic analysis of multi-layered paint chips of hit-and-run cars, detailed compositional analysis, including minor/trace chemical components in the multi-layered paint chips, is crucial for the potential credentials of the run-away car as the number of layers, painting process, and used paints [...] Read more.
For the forensic analysis of multi-layered paint chips of hit-and-run cars, detailed compositional analysis, including minor/trace chemical components in the multi-layered paint chips, is crucial for the potential credentials of the run-away car as the number of layers, painting process, and used paints are quite specific to the types of cars, color of cars, and their surface protection depending on the car manufacturer and the year of manufacture, and yet overall characteristics of some paints used by car manufacturers might be quite similar. In the present study, attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) imaging, Raman microspectrometry (RMS), and scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometric (SEM/EDX) techniques were performed in combination for the detailed characterization of three car paint chip samples, which provided complementary and comprehensive information on the multi-layered paint chips. That is, optical microscopy, SEM, and ATR-FTIR imaging techniques provided information on the number of layers, physical heterogeneity of the layers, and layer thicknesses; EDX on the elemental chemical profiles and compositions; ATR-FTIR imaging on the molecular species of polymer resins, such as alkyd, alkyd-melamine, acrylic, epoxy, and butadiene resins, and some inorganics; and RMS on the molecular species of inorganic pigments (TiO2, ZnO, Fe3O4), mineral fillers (kaolinite, talc, pyrophyllite), and inorganic fillers (BaSO4, Al2(SO4)3, Zn3(PO4)2, CaCO3). This study demonstrates that the new multi-modal approach has powerful potential to elucidate chemical and physical characteristics of multi-layered car paint chips, which could be useful for determining the potential credentials of run-away cars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Metabolism of 25B-NBF, 2-(4-Bromo-2,5-Dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-Fluorobenzyl)ethanamine, in Human Hepatocytes Using Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040818 - 25 Feb 2019
Abstract
25B-NBF, 2-(4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-fluorobenzyl)ethanamine, is a new psychoactive substance classified as a phenethylamine. It is a potent agonist of the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor, but little is known about its metabolism and elimination properties since it was discovered. To aid 25B-NBF abuse screening, the metabolic [...] Read more.
25B-NBF, 2-(4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-fluorobenzyl)ethanamine, is a new psychoactive substance classified as a phenethylamine. It is a potent agonist of the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor, but little is known about its metabolism and elimination properties since it was discovered. To aid 25B-NBF abuse screening, the metabolic characteristics of 25B-NBF were investigated in human hepatocytes and human cDNA-expressed cytochrome P450 (CYP) and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes using liquid chromatography–high resolution mass spectrometry. At a hepatic extraction ratio of 0.80, 25B-NBF was extensively metabolized into 33 metabolites via hydroxylation, O-demethylation, bis-O-demethylation, N-debenzylation, glucuronidation, sulfation, and acetylation after incubation with pooled human hepatocytes. The metabolism of 25B-NBF was catalyzed by CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2J2, CYP3A4, and UGT2B7 enzymes. Based on these results, it is necessary to develop a bioanalytical method for the determination of not only 25B-NBF but also its metabolites in biological samples for the screening of 25B-NBF abuse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Analytical Chemistry)
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