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J Anal Toxicol. 2014 Mar;38(2):73-9. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkt098. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Accuracy profile validation of a new analytical method for propane measurement using headspace-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Unit, University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne, Geneva, Lausanne CH-1011, Switzerland.


Propane can be responsible for several types of lethal intoxication and explosions. Quantifying it would be very helpful to determine in some cases the cause of death. Some gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) methods of propane measurements do already exist. The main drawback of these GC-MS methods described in the literature is the absence of a specific propane internal standard necessary for accurate quantitative analysis. The main outcome of the following study was to provide an innovative Headspace-GC-MS method (HS-GC-MS) applicable to the routine determination of propane concentration in forensic toxicology laboratories. To date, no stable isotope of propane is commercially available. The development of an in situ generation of standards is thus presented. An internal-labeled standard gas (C₃DH₇) is generated in situ by the stoichiometric formation of propane by the reaction of deuterated water (D₂O) with Grignard reagent propylmagnesium chloride (C₃H₇MgCl). The method aims to use this internal standard to quantify propane concentrations and, therefore, to obtain precise measurements. Consequently, a complete validation with an accuracy profile according to two different guidelines, the French Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Techniques (SFSTP) and the Gesellschaft für toxikologische und Forensische Chemie (GTFCh), is presented.

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