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Availability of Target Odor Compounds From Seized Ecstasy Tablets for Canine Detection

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 56 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2011 Pages: 1594-1600
Date Published
November 2011
7 pages

The aim of this study was to compare seized samples of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) pills, used to train law enforcement detection canine teams, to determine what differences exist in the chemical makeup and headspace odor and their effect on detectability. MDMA solutions were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.


Analysis of these samples showed a wide variance of MDMA (8-25 percent). Headspace SPME-GC/MS analysis showed that several compounds such as 3,4-methylenedioxyphenylacetone and 1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-propanol are common among these MDMA samples regardless of starting compound and synthesis procedure. However, differences, such as the level of the various methylenedioxy starting compounds, were shown to affect the overall outcome of canine detection, indicating the need for more than one MDMA training aid. Combinations of compounds such as the primary odor piperonal in conjunction with a secondary compound such as MDP-2-OH or isosafrole are recommended to maximize detection of different illicit MDMA samples. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: November 1, 2011