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Tagliaro F, De Battisti Z, Groppi A, Nakahara Y, Scarcella D, Valentini R, Marigo M. 
“High sensitivity simultaneous determination in hair of the major constituents of ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine and 3,4-methylene-dioxyethylamphetamine) by high-performance liquid chromatography with direct fluor”. 
J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci App. 1999 Feb 19;723(1-2):195-202.
A simple, but sensitive and specific high-performance liquid chromatographic assay for the simultaneous determination of the major constituents of 'ecstasy' [i.e. 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 3,4-methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDE)] with direct fluorimetric detection, particularly intended for the routine analysis of hair, is described. Hair samples (100 mg) were overnight incubated in 1 ml of 0.25 M HCl at 45 degrees C and extracted with a commercial liquid-liquid method. The dried residue reconstituted with 500 microl of 0.05 M NaH2PO4 pH 5.2 was injected. Isocratic reversed-phase liquid chromatography was carried out on a column (250x4.6 mm I.D.) packed with spherical 5-microm poly(styrene-divinylbenzene) particles; the mobile phase was composed of 0.1 M potassium phosphate (pH 3)-acetonitrile (82:18). The excitation and the emission wavelengths were set to 285 and 320 nm, respectively. Under the described conditions, MDA, MDMA and MDE eluted in symmetric peaks with an analysis time of 30 min. The limit of detection was lower than 1 ng/ml, with a signal-to-noise ratio of 5, for each compound in solution, allowing a cut-off of 0.1 ng/mg in the hair matrix to be established. The intra-day precision (n = 6) of the assay was characterised by RSDs between 1.0 and 3.0% and between 0.52 and 0.88% for concentrations of 10 and 100 ng/ml, respectively; in day-to-day precision tests (n = 6), RSDs ranged between 5.12 and 11.12%, respectively, for the same concentrations. Interferences from as many as 92 therapeutic and/or abused drugs currently in use in the population were excluded, including N-methyl-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2 butanamine (MBDB).
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