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Validation of an analytical method for nitrous oxide (N2O) laughing gas by headspace gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (HS-GC-MS): forensic application to a lethal intoxication

N Giuliani, Jochen Beyer, M Augsburger & V Varlet

abstract Drug abuse is a widespread problem affecting both teenagers and adults. Nitrous oxide is becoming increasingly popular as an inhalation drug, causing harmful neurological and hematological effects. Some gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) methods for nitrous oxide measurement have been previously described. The main drawbacks of these methods include a lack of sensitivity for forensic applications; including an inability to quantitatively determine the concentration of gas present. The following study provides a validated method using HS-GC-MS which incorporates hydrogen sulfide as a suitable internal standard allowing the quantification of nitrous oxide. Upon analysis, sample and internal standard have similar retention times and are eluted quickly from the molecular sieve 5Å PLOT capillary column and the Porabond Q column therefore providing rapid data collection whilst preserving well defined peaks. After validation, the method has been applied to a real case of N2O intoxication indicating concentrations in a mono-intoxication.
   
citation Giuliani N, Beyer J, Augsburger M, Varlet V. Validation of an analytical method for nitrous oxide (N2O) laughing gas by headspace gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (HS-GC-MS): forensic application to a lethal intoxication. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2015; 983-984:90-3.
   
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 14-01-2015
journal title J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci (983-984)
ISSN electronic 1873-376X
pages 90-3
PubMed 25621437
DOI 10.1016/j.jchromb.2014.12.034