More than 200 doping substances detected in ten minutes

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  • Published: Jan 19, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: UV/Vis Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics / Raman / Base Peak / NMR Knowledge Base / Infrared Spectroscopy / Atomic / X-ray Spectrometry / Proteomics

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There appears to be an unofficial contest going on in the doping analysis world to try and screen for as many banned substances as possible by one method. Just a few weeks ago a paper was published in the March 2015 issue of Talanta in which Spanish scientists announced their successful attempts to measure 200 illegal sports drugs using LC/MS/MS with a chromatographic run time of 18 minutes. This has now been surpassed, but only just, by scientists in Korea who have taken that total to 210 in a total run time of just 10 minutes.

The new procedure, described in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, also uses LC/MS/MS but the ways that both teams remove the drugs from urine samples differ. The Spanish group used to solid-phase extraction with a mixed-mode cartridge with out any pre-treatment, whereas the Korean team treated the urine by enzymatic hydrolysis before consecutive liquid-liquid extractions at different temperatures.

The 200 substances were defined as steroids, glucocorticosteroids, cannabinoids, stimulants, analgesics, β-blockers, diuretics, antidiabetics, narcotics, opiates and anti-inflammatories. As would be expected, there was much overlap with the enhanced set of 210 which included anabolic agents, glucocorticosteroids, stimulants, β2-agonists, hormone and metabolic modulators, diuretics and masking agents, narcotics, β-blockers, and 1 manipulation of blood and blood component.

The latest method was painstakingly checked in the analysis of more than 10,000 urine samples, with no false positives or false negatives being reported. It is unlikely that one method can be used to test for all banned substances and their metabolites due to their differences in properties but the more the better, as these two attempts have shown.

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