Supported liquid-liquid extraction of the active ingredient (3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine) from ecstasy tablets for isotopic analysis

Alanna de Korompay, Jenny C. Hill, James F. Carter (Lead / Corresponding author), Niamh NicDaeid, Richard Sleeman

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A method was developed for the isolation of 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA) and other active ingredients from illicit ecstasy tablets. The method employed supported liquid extraction (SLE) with cartridges containing a modified form of diatomaceous earth. The method developed was simple and robust and the extract could be analysed directly, by GC-MS, to identify ingredients and reduced in volume for isotope ratio MS analysis of both d C and d N. The technique was shown to be highly reproducible, independent of the tablet matrix and considerably faster than existing liquid-liquid extraction methods. Crucially, no significant isotopic fractionation was observed as a result of the extraction process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography. A
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2008



  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA)
  • Ecstasy tablets
  • Supported liquid–liquid extraction (SLE)
  • Isotopic analysis
  • Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS)

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