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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 Feb;393(4):1345-50. doi: 10.1007/s00216-008-2546-2. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Microwave-assisted extraction: a simpler and faster method for the determination of ethyl glucuronide in hair by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Institute of Legal Medicine, Forensic Toxicology Service, Faculty of Medicine, C/ San Francisco s/n, 15782, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Alcohol is the most frequently abused "addictive substance" that causes serious social problems throughout the world; thus, alcoholism is of particular interest in clinical and forensic medicine. Alcohol biomarkers are physiological indicators of alcohol exposure or ingestion and may reflect the presence of an alcohol use disorder. The glucuronide conjugation is a minor pathway of ethanol metabolism. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a marker of recent alcohol consumption that detects alcohol use reliably over a definite time period. The present paper describes a new method for the determination of EtG in hair. It is based both in the microwave-assisted extraction (MAE), to extract the analyte from hair samples, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), to identify and quantify the EtG in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. The method was applied to 15 hair samples from occasional alcohol users, obtaining positive results in all cases. It was fully validated, including a linear range (0.3-10 ng/mg) and the main precision parameters. In summary, the use of microwave-assisted extraction turned out to be a substantially simpler, faster, and a more sensitive procedure than any other conventional sample preparations.

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