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J Chromatogr Sci. 2003 Feb;41(2):63-6.

Sensitive analysis of alkyl alcohols as decomposition products of alkyl nitrites in human whole blood and urine by headspace capillary GC with cryogenic oven trapping.

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Department of Legal Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan.


The abuse of alkyl nitrites is becoming a serious social problem worldwide. In this report, a simple and sensitive method is presented for the determination of n-butyl alcohol, isobutyl alcohol, and isoamyl alcohol as decomposition products of alkyl nitrites in human whole blood and urine samples using capillary gas chromatography (GC) with cryogenic oven trapping. After heating a whole blood or urine sample containing each alkyl alcohol and t-butyl alcohol [the internal standard (IS)] in a 7-mL vial at 55 degrees C for 15 min, 5 mL of the headspace vapor is drawn into a gas-tight syringe and injected into a GC inlet port. The vapor is introduced into an Rtx-BAC2 medium-bore capillary column in the splitless mode at 0 degrees C oven temperature in order to trap the entire analytes, and then the oven temperature is programmed up to 240 degrees C for the GC measurements by flame ionization detection. These conditions give sharp peaks for each compound and the IS and low background noise for whole blood or urine samples. The detection limits of the analytes are 10 ng/mL for whole blood and 5 ng/mL for urine. Linearity and precision are also tested to confirm the reliability of this method. Isobutyl alcohol and methemoglobin could be determined from the whole blood samples of three male volunteers who had sniffed isobutyl nitrite.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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