All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Ellen Mwenesongole

Advisory Committee Members

Elizabeth Gardner

Erin Shonsey

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


New designer drugs are now being called “legal highs” because they were created to get around existing drug laws. This was done by modifying the molecular structures to create different chemical structures with similar effects to those illicit drugs. Synthetic cathinones, also referred to as ‘Bath Salts’, are the newest type of designer drugs that have stimulant effects. This research set out to validate a method for the separation and analysis of 3,4-Methylenedioxy Pyrovalerone 8 (3,4-Methylenedioxy PV8) 3,4-Methylenedioxy- N-Benzylcathinone (3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-BC), 4-Fluoro-alpha-Pyrrolidinohexanophenone (4-Fluoro-alpha-PHP), 4-Methyl-alpha-Ethylaminopentiophenone (4-Methyl-alpha- EAPP), and N-(1,4-dimethylpentyl)-3,4-Dimethoxyamphetamine (N-(1,4-dimethylpentyl)- 3,4-DMA). The parameters evaluated were limit of detection (LOD), interference, reproducibility, and simulated casework. The LOD was evaluated by preparing each of the bath salts, 3,4-Methylenedioxy PV8, 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-BC, 4-Fluoro-alpha-PHP, 4-Methyl-alpha- EAPP, and N-(1,4-dimethylpentyl)-3,4-DMA in a range of concentrations from 1 μg/mL to 500 μg/mL in dibucaine spiked chloroform (100 μg/mL) and in dibucaine spiked methanol (100 ug/mL). Interference was evaluated using 233 interferents classified as bath salts that were run individually and in mixes to determine whether they would interfere or coelute with the target analytes. Reproducibility was evaluated by preparing two sets of 10 replicate samples at concentration of 100 μg/mL per target analyte over three different days. Simulated casework was evaluated by preparing two sets of 10 samples of varying concentrations of the target analytes to mimic actual casework. The LOD for 3,4-Methylenedioxy- PV8 was 2 μg/mL in MEOH and 5 μg/mL in CHCL3. The LOD for 3,4-Methylenedioxy- N-BC was 5 μg/mL in MEOH and 10 μg/mL in CHCL3. The LOD for 4- Fluoro-alpha-PHP was 20 μg/mL in both MEOH and CHCL3. The LOD for 4-Methyl-EAPP was 50 μg/mL in MEOH and 20 μg/mL in CHCL3. The LOD for N-(1,4-dimethylpentyl)- 3,4-DMA was 20 μg/mL in MEOH and 10 μg/mL in CHCL3. Out of the 233 interferents, 22 potentially interfered or coeluted with the target analytes. Out of the 22 potential interferents, only 5 either interfered or coeluted with the target analytes. All the samples on all three days of the reproducibility study for both sets met all the acceptance criteria. For simulated casework, all the samples for both sets met all the acceptance criteria.



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