Analysis of impurities in seized MDMA tablets can be used to determine the synthesis method used and to identify links among exhibits.
Analysis of impurities in seized MDMA tablets can be used to determine the synthesis method used and to identify links among exhibits. However, no standardized method exists to generate impurity profiles, limiting comparisons among different laboratories. This research investigated the effect of extraction procedure and gas chromatography temperature program on the resulting impurity profiles. Five exhibits were extracted using liquid-liquid extraction LLE and headspace solid-phase microextraction HS-SPME, then analyzed using two different temperature programs. Profiles were statistically assessed using principal components analysis. While LLE was more reproducible, more compounds were extracted using HS-SPME, thus providing more informative chemical profiles. The longer temperature program 53 min vs. 36 min allowed greater discrimination of exhibits, due to improved precision as a result of an extended hold time 12 min. This research further highlights the need for standardized extraction and analysis procedures to allow comparison of chemical profiles generated in different laboratories.