This document reports on a research project about toxic compound detection, with the two main goals of performing a systematic evaluation of current routine approaches to the examination and characterization of anticoagulant-containing materials, and developing workflows for screening and confirmation or quantitation of the drugs in toxicological samples.
This report on a research project that addressed the detection of esoteric and challenging, highly toxic agents that need the attention of forensic laboratories. The authors identify the anticoagulants warfarin and superwarfarin, compounds which are commercially available and not monitored or controlled. The research project had the following two main goals: perform a systematic evaluation of current routine approaches to the examination and characterization of anticoagulant-containing materials, including commercial baits used in rodent control and anticoagulant laced or adulterated street drugs; and develop workflows for screening and confirmation or quantitation of the drugs in toxicological samples. Based on those goals, the four main objectives included the following: assessment of current method capabilities and development of a workflow for anticoagulant adulterants in seized material; assessment of current method capabilities and development of a workflow for anticoagulant adulterants in toxicology casework; implementation and analysis of authentic case examples. The researchers performed a comprehensive assessment of the detection of anticoagulant drugs in seized materials and biologicals. Based on that assessment, they noted that while analytical standards of anticoagulant drugs did produce color changes during a color test, when tested using commercial products where the anticoagulant was listed as the active ingredient, color changes were inconsistent. The researchers noted also that brodifacoum and difethialone yield the same degradation product and alternative analysis methods are required, however difenacoum and flocoumafen yield unique degradation products which could be used for diagnostic purposes. Other results revealed limitations which led to the development and validation of a targeted extraction technique and analytical method, which is discussed in the Research Design section of the paper.
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