Rapid screening of drug compounds in urine using a combination of microextraction by packed sorbent and rotating micropillar array electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Katrine Nielsen, Frants R. Lauritsen, Teemu Nissilä, Raimo A. Ketola

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Screening of drugs from urine samples can be non‐selective or laborous, using either immunological, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or liquid chromatography (LC)/MS methods. Therefore, a rapid screening method for selected drugs in urine sample was developed in a proof‐of‐principle manner, utilizing simple and fast techniques for both sample treatment and sample analysis. Sample treament of spiked urine samples was performed with microextraction by packed sorbent (MEPS). Five different sorbent materials (C2, C8, C18, M1 (cation exchanger), and Sil (pure silica)) were tested for the MEPS. The sample analysis was performed using a circular microchip with 60 micropillar electrospray ionization (μPESI) tips combined with a mass spectrometer (either a triple‐quadrupole or ion‐trap mass spectrometer) without any chromatographic step. The sample treatment/analysis setup was tested using three drug compounds at a concentration of 1 μM. We found that the C2, C8 and C18 sorbents in combination with 96% alkaline methanol as an eluent worked the best. All compounds were easily detected and identified by MS/MS in spiked urine samples. The whole qualitative analytical procedure was rapid as the sample treatment together with the MS analysis took about 5 min per sample. A rapid screening method for selected drugs from urine samples was developed, providing adequate selectivity and sensitivity, as well as a short total analysis cycle time. This new method can provide a new alternative for screening purposes, as both the extraction and analysis steps could be totally automatized. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)297-303
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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