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Microextraction techniques in forensic toxicology

Grant number: 20/10809-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2021 - January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Toxicological Analysis
Principal researcher:José Luiz da Costa
Grantee:José Luiz da Costa
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Henrique Marcelo Gualberto Pereira ; Karina Diniz Oliveira


Forensic toxicology laboratories have a complex analytical structure, which combines analysis of a large number of possible analytes, present in huge varied concentrations (from pg/mL to mg/mL), in complex biological fluids (with a large number and diversity of interferents). In general, the Brazilian forensic laboratories use traditional sample preparation techniques, such as liquid-liquid or solid-phase extraction, with high consumption of biological samples and organic solvents. Currently, in analytical chemistry and toxicological analysis, there is a growing interest in the use of new sample preparation techniques, which are fast, efficient, automated and ecologically correct, following the concept internationally known as green analytical chemistry (GAC). Methods based on microextraction processes have been developed as alternatives to classic sample preparation procedures. As it requires less biological samples, microextraction techniques are attractive for samples with limited availability, such as vitreous humor and oral fluid, or even postmortem blood in victims of severe poly trauma (where there is considerable blood loss). In addition, the smaller amount of sample needed to perform the examination facilitates the logistic of the forensic laboratory. The huge use of organic solvents increases the operating cost of the laboratory (considering expenses for the purchase and proper disposal of chemicals), in addition to exposing the analyst to potentially toxic substances. The automation of the sample preparation process is another important point in forensic laboratories that, in most cases, need to analyze hundreds of samples daily. Thus, the use of microextraction techniques in the routine of forensic toxicology laboratories can bring several benefits, such as the issue of faster and reproducible results (using automated processes), with greater savings of resources, in an environmentally correct structure and preserving occupational health, using more efficient procedures, with lower maintenance cost, with equally reliable results, but consistent with the GAC concept. The objective of this project is to perform a critical analysis and evaluate the feasibility of using emerging microextraction techniques in toxicological screening and confirmation analyzes, performed for forensic purposes. The results obtained using emerging microextraction techniques will be evaluated against those obtained by traditional sample preparation techniques used routinely in forensic laboratories, evaluating the practical applicability of the new techniques in the routine of forensic toxicology laboratories. As evaluation criteria, the total extraction time, number of samples extracted simultaneously, detection limits obtained, extraction yield (recovery) and operating cost will be considered. (AU)

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