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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2010 Jun 15;24(11):1653-8. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4563.

delta(13)C and delta(2)H isotope ratios in amphetamine synthesized from benzaldehyde and nitroethane.

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National Measurement Institute, Australian Forensic Drug Laboratory, 1 Suakin Street, Pymble, Sydney, Australia.


Previous work in these laboratories and by Butzenlechner et al. and Culp et al. has demonstrated that the delta(2)H isotope value of industrial benzaldehyde produced by the catalytic oxidation of toluene is profoundly positive, usually in the range +300 per thousand to +500 per thousand. Synthetic routes leading to amphetamine, methylamphetamine or their precursors and commencing with such benzaldehyde may be expected to exhibit unusually positive delta(2)H values. Results are presented for delta(13)C and delta(2)H isotope values of 1-phenyl-2-nitropropene synthesized from an industrial source of benzaldehyde, having a positive delta(2)H isotope value, by a Knoevenagel condensation with nitroethane. Results are also presented for delta(13)C and delta(2)H isotope values for amphetamine prepared from the resulting 1-phenyl-2-nitropropene. The values obtained were compared with delta(13)C and delta(2)H isotope values obtained for an amphetamine sample prepared using a synthetic route that did not involve benzaldehyde. Finally, results are presented for samples of benzaldehyde, 1-phenyl-2-nitropropene and amphetamine that had been seized at a clandestine amphetamine laboratory.

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