Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

A Study on Photostability of Amphetamines and Ketamine in Hair Irradiated under Artificial Sunlight

Version 1 : Received: 2 May 2018 / Approved: 3 May 2018 / Online: 3 May 2018 (09:11:57 CEST)

How to cite: Miolo, G.; Tucci, M.; Menilli, L.; Stocchero, G.; Vogliardi, S.; Scrivano, S.; Montisci, M.; Favretto, D. A Study on Photostability of Amphetamines and Ketamine in Hair Irradiated under Artificial Sunlight. Preprints 2018, 2018050062 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0062.v1). Miolo, G.; Tucci, M.; Menilli, L.; Stocchero, G.; Vogliardi, S.; Scrivano, S.; Montisci, M.; Favretto, D. A Study on Photostability of Amphetamines and Ketamine in Hair Irradiated under Artificial Sunlight. Preprints 2018, 2018050062 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0062.v1).

Abstract

Background: Drug incorporated in hair are exposed to the environment and to cosmetic and chemical treatments, with possible decrease of their content. Knowledge concerning the effect of sun light on drug content in hair can be helpful to the forensic toxicologist, in particular when investigating on drug concentrations above or below pre-determined cut-offs. Materials and Methods: Twenty authentic positive hair samples were selected that had previously tested positive for amphetamines and/or ketamine. Washed hairs were divided into two identical strands: the former was exposed at 765 W/m2 (310–800 nm spectrum of irradiance) for 48 hours in a solar simulator, the latter was kept in the dark. Hair samples were extracted and analyzed by LC-HRMS detection. The percent photodegradation was calculated for each analyte (amphetamine, methamphetamine, methylendioxyamphetamine methylendioxymethamphetamine, ketamine, norketamine). In parallel, photodegradation processes of standard molecules dissolved in aqueous and organic solutions were studied. Results: In 20 hair samples positive for the targeted analytes, exposure to artificial sun light induced an appreciable decrease of drug concentrations. The concentration ranges in the non-irradiated hair samples were 0.01–24 ng/mg; 65% of samples exhibited a decrease in post-irradiation samples, with reduction from 3% to 100%. When more drugs were present in the same hair sample (e.g, MDMA and ketamine) the degradation yields were compound dependent. A degradation product induced by irradiation of ketamine in aqueous and methanol solutions was identified; it was also found to be present in a true positive hair sample after irradiation. Conclusions: Ketamine, amphetamines and their metabolites incorporated in hair of drug users undergo degradation when irradiated by artificial sunlight. Only for ketamine a photoproduct was identified in irradiated standard solutions and in true positive irradiated hair. When decisional cut-offs are applied to hair analysis, photodegradation must be taken into account since sunlight may produce false negative results. Moreover, new markers could be investigated as evidence of illicit drug use.

Subject Areas

hair; solar light; photodegradation; amphetamines; MDMA; ketamine; photoproduct; photostability; solar simulator

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