Analysis of bile and nail as alternative biological specimens in forensic toxicology
This thesis examines the use of bile and nail as alternative biological specimens in forensic toxicology. In chapter 1, a brief overview of the mechanisms of substance passage into and out of membranes and fluids and matrices was presented followed by a review of the use of alternative biological specimens for analytical purposes. The experimental part of this thesis begins in chapter 2 where a simple and rapid method for the detection and quantification of dextropropoxyphene in bile and its major metabolite, norpropoxyphene, is presented. Following this, nail is examined as an alternative biological specimen in cases of medico-legal interest. Firstly, two major cannabinoids, 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid were identified in the nail (chapter 3) by means of RIA and GC-MS. Cannabinoids were found to be present in all six cases that were analysed for cannabinoids by RIA and their concentration ranged from 0.23 ng/mg to 2.80 ng/mg (average: 1.03 ng/mg). Using GC-MS, 9-tetrahydrocannabinol was detected in 11 out of the 14 nail clipping hydrolysates after basic extraction with concentrations ranging from 0.13 ng/mg to 6.97 ng/mg (average: 1.44 ng/mg). 11-nor-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid was not detected in any of these nail clipping hydrolysates but was detected in two of the three fingernail clipping hydrolysates extracted under acidic pH with concentrations ranging from 9.82 ng/mg to 29.7 ng/mg (average: 19.8 ng/mg). In chapter 4, the detection and quantification of diazepam, the most commonly encountered benzodiazepine, were described. Using ECD-GC, diazepam was detected in hydrolysates of all 6 sets of nail clippings in concentrations ranging from 4.37 to 87.8 ng/mg (average: 25.7 ng/mg). In chapter 5, an analytical protocol for the detection and quantification of morphine in nail clippings of known heroin abusers was presented. Finally, a protocol for the detection and quantification of methadone in nail clippings of patients attending a methadone maintenance program was presented.