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ISRN Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 489705, 7 pages
Research Article

Capillary Electrophoresis with UV Detection to Determine Cocaine on Circulated Banknotes

1Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
2Department of Science & Food Technology, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88034-001 Florianopolis, SC, Brazil

Received 10 September 2013; Accepted 20 October 2013

Academic Editors: G. Erny, W. Miao, K. Ohyama, and A. Taga

Copyright © 2013 Melina Heller 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.


A new methodology employing capillary electrophoresis with UV detection (CE-UV) was developed, validated, and applied to determine the presence of cocaine on Brazilian banknotes. Some of the banknotes analyzed were obtained directly from general circulation (well used) while others were collected from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) (relatively new). The background electrolyte optimized using Peakmaster 5.1 software was composed of 60 mmol L−1 TRIS(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane and 20 mmol L−1 2-hydroxyisobutyric acid, at pH 8.4. The separation time achieved for cocaine was only 2.5 minutes. The figures of merit obtained in the evaluation of the proposed method were good linearity () in the concentration range of 0.8–8.0 mg L−1 and acceptable limits of detection and quantification (0.2 mg L−1 and 0.8 mg L−1, resp.). The relative standard deviations of the instrumental precision, repeatability (intraday), and intermediate precision (interday) were less than 4.5% (peak area). The accuracy evaluated through comparing the cocaine results for the banknotes determined by the proposed CE-UV method and using an LC-MS/MS method showed no significant difference between the methods (95% confidence level). In the analysis of the samples cocaine was detected on 93% of the circulating banknotes in amounts ranging from 11.5 μg to 2761.9 μg per note.