Evaluation of GC/MS Data Systematic Toxicological Analysis in Forensic Analyses by
A main objective of forensic toxicological analysis is the identification of general unknown poisons in biological material. A reproducible and automatic extraction procedure for the analysis of
drugs in post-mortem samples of blood and tissue has been developed . Extracts are analyzed by GC/MS producing more than 2000 spectra per sample.
The resulting total ion current (TIC) chromatograms contain many
W. Demuth1*, T. Stimpfl 2
substances from the biological material (liver sample). The distinction
between negative and positive cases and identification of unknown
W. Vycudilik2 1 , K. Varmuza
poisons is very time consuming using routine software.
A successful identification depends on the availability of the
1 Vienna University of Technology,
corresponding mass spectra in the applied libraries. In this work the
Institute of Chemical Engineering, Laboratory for Chemometrics,
MS library for toxicologically interesting substances by Pfleger,
Getreidemarkt 9/166-2, A-1060 Vienna, Austria
Difficulties arise in cases, where comprehensive mass spectral data of
Corresponding authors for chemometrics:
the unknown compound are not available. A software was developed
to filter the total number of acquired mass spectra in general unknown
cases and to simplify the TIC chromatogram by an automated,
2 University of Vienna, Institute of Forensic Medicine,
computer-assisted subtraction procedure.
Sensengasse 2, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
This procedure allows the forensic toxicologist to focus on mass
Corresponding authors for forensic chemistry:
spectra of uncommon compounds, and therefore improves the chance
for the identification of a “general unknown” in complex biological
[email protected] * Presenting author: W. Demuth
The Software FORGE (Forensic GC/MS-Data Exploration) was
realized in MATLAB to test new algorithms. Development of a
Austrian Science Fund, project P14792-CHE
Stimpfl T., Jurenitsch J., Vycudilik W.: J. Anal. Toxicol. 25, 125 (2001)
Pfleger K., Maurer H.H., Weber A.W.: Mass spectral and GC data of drugs,
poisons, pesticides, pollutants and their metabolites; 2nd ed., VCH Publishers,
Poster Presentation: Advances in Chromatography and Electrophoresis - Conferentia Chemometrica (ACE & CC 2003) Software FORGE Selection of Characteristic Spectra Forensic GC/MS-Data Exploration GC/MS analyses of a blood sample spiked with standard mixture of
toxins. Selected range of TIC after baseline subtraction:
Performed separately for each mass chromatogram.
Selection of Characteristic Spectra
Automatic selection of approx. 50 mass spectra from GC/MS data.
Retention Index Calibration
Linear or quadratic regression model using alkanes and relevant
Selection Method: Selection of characteristic spectra by searching Tools for Building Negative Libraries
for local maxima in all mass chromatograms.
Characteristic spectra of negative reference samples (no
Two positive slopes followed by two negative slopes with an
intoxication) are collected to eliminat unsuspicious spectra.
intensity above a threshold are considered a maximum in a mass
chromatogram. A characteristic spectrum must contain maxima in at
Subtraction of Spectra present in Negative Library
Spectra of matrix components are filtered to clean the TIC and to
Identification of compounds with spectra selected.
Search for maximal occurrence of selected target spectra in
chromatogram with optionally considering retention indices.
Calculation of Spectral Features
Various features can be generated from mass spectral data to
obtain suitable variables for analysis of spectra-structure
Exploratory Data Analysis of Spectra or Features
Selected mass spectra 3 and 4 are very similar because of an overlap
Spectral features or MS peak intensities are used for exploratory
of two substances. The developed method allows the detection of
Identification of Spectra PCA of Characteristic Spectra
A “foreward search” is used to identify the selected characteristic
spectra. The search algorithm tries to fit the library spectrum into the
spectrum of the unknown. Only small intensities of the library
spectrum are allowed not to be present in the unknown. Higher
intensities in the spectrum of the unknown are tolerated (caused by
other toxins Results of Identification for all selected characteristic mass spectra:
All added toxins where identified correctly (spiked sample!)
components PCA: 42 objects (characteristic spectra) 862 features
This representation shows the structural similarity of found
compounds derived from mass spectral features. The added
Such PCA plots can be used as templates for interpretation of
AC …. acetylated (sample preparation)
Heroin found in real forensic blood sample.
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Basic Requirements Be in generally good health and feel wellBe at least 17 years of age -- no upper age limit Donation Frequency Whole blood donors may donate every 56 daysPlatelet donors may donate every 48 hours (up to 24 times per year)Double red cell apheresis donors may donate every 112 days Immunizations Flu, Pneumonia, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B -- can donate if feeli