[Lanza2013] "Distinguishing two isomeric mephedrone substitutes with selective reagent ionisation mass spectrometry (SRI-MS)",
Journal of Mass Spectrometry
, vol. 48, no. 9, pp. 1015–1018, 2013.
The isomers 4-methylethcathinone and N-ethylbuphedrone are substitutes for the recently banned drug mephedrone. We find that with conventional proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), it is not possible to distinguish between these two isomers, because essentially for both substances, only the protonated molecules are observed at a mass-to-charge ratio of 192 (C12H18NO+). However, when utilising an advanced PTR-MS instrument that allows us to switch the reagent ions (selective reagent ionisation) from H3O+ (which is commonly used in PTR-MS) to NO+, O2+ and Kr+, characteristic product (fragment) ions are detected: C4H10N+ (72 Da) for 4-methylethcathinone and C5H12N+ (86 Da) for N-ethylbuphedrone; thus, selective reagent ionisation MS proves to be a powerful tool for fast detection and identification of these compounds. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.