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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2015;12(1):45-50. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2014.935782.

Enhanced performance of methamphetamine lateral flow cassettes using an electronic lateral flow reader.

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a Division of Applied Research and Technology, National institute for Occupational Safety and Heath, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Cincinnati , Ohio.


Surface contamination from methamphetamine in meth labs continues to be a problem. We had previously developed a lateral flow assay cassette for field detection of methamphetamine contamination that is commercially available and has been used by a number of groups to assess contamination. This cassette uses the complete disappearance of the test line as an end point for detection of 50 ng/100 cm2 of methamphetamine contamination for surface sampling with cotton swabs. In the present study, we further evaluate the response of the cassettes using an electronic lateral flow reader to measure the intensities of the test and control lines. The cassettes were capable of detecting 0.25 ng/ml for calibration solutions. For 100 cm2 ceramic tiles that were spiked with methamphetamine and wiped with cotton-tipped wooden swabs wetted in assay/sampling buffer, 1 ng/tile was detected using the reader. Semi-quantitative results can be produced over the range 0-10 ng/ml for calibration solutions and 0-25 ng/tile for spiked tiles using either a 4-parameter logistic fit of test line intensity versus concentration or spiked mass or the ratio of the control line to the test line intensity fit to concentration or spiked mass. Recovery from the tiles was determined to be about 30% using the fitted curves. Comparison of the control line to the test line was also examined as a possible visual detection end point and it was found that the control line became more intense than the test line at 0.5 to 1 ng/ml for calibration solutions or 1 to 2 ng/tile for spiked tiles. Thus the lateral flow cassettes for methamphetamine have the potential to produce more sensitive semi-quantitative results if an electronic lateral flow reader is used and can be more sensitive for detection if the comparison of the control line to the test line is used as the visual end point.


direct reading; lateral flow; methamphetamine

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