Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 318148, 12 pages
Research Article

Fragmentation Pathways of Trifluoroacetyl Derivatives of Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, and Methylenedioxyphenylalkylamine Designer Drugs by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

1Department of Legal Medicine, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan
2Department of Forensic Medicine, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, 7-45-1 Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan
3Department of Legal Medicine, Toho University School of Medicine, 5-21-16 Omorinishi, Ota-ku, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan
4Department of Legal Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Ohyaguchi-kamicho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan
5Department of Legal Medicine, Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Nagakute-cho, Aichi 480-1195, Japan
6Department of Legal Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan

Received 24 February 2011; Accepted 26 June 2011

Academic Editor: Stefan Schmatz

Copyright © 2011 Takeshi Kumazawa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Methamphetamine (MA), amphetamine (AM), and the methylenedioxyphenylalkylamine designer drugs, such as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 3,4-methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA), N-methyl-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-butanamine (MBDB), 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and 3,4-(methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-butanamine (BDB), are widely abused as psychedelics. In this paper, these compounds were derivatized with trifluoroacetic (TFA) anhydride and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry using electron ionization in positive mode. Gas chromatographic separation for TFA derivatives of all compounds was successfully resolved using an Equity-5 fused silica capillary column with a poly (5% diphenyl-95% dimethylsiloxane) stationary phase. Base peaks or prominent peaks of MA, AM, MDMA, MDEA, MBDB, MDA, and BDB appeared at m/z 154, 140, 154, 168, 168, 135, and 135, respectively. These occurred due to α-cleavage from the amide nitrogen, splitting into the TFA imine species and benzyl or methylenedioxybenzyl cations. Further prominent fragment ions at m/z 118 for MA and AM, m/z 162 for MDMA, MDEA, and MDA, and m/z 176 for MBDB and BDB were produced by cleavage of the phenylpropane or methylenedioxypropane hydrocarbon radical cation via a hydrogen rearrangement. These fragmentation pathways for the TFA derivatives of all the compounds are summarized and illustrated in this paper.