A simple and fast method to detect freebase cocaine in artificial saliva by square wave voltammetry (SWV) using carbon paste electrode
The consequences of consuming and commercializing illicit drugs including cocaine, constitute a serious problem for authorities and the whole society. Cocaine is usually identified in the laboratory conditions by chromatographic or spectroscopic methods. Electrochemical techniques have also gained prominence because they are fast and easy to use, have many applications, and provide reproducible and reliable results. Therefore, in the present study, a voltammetric method was developed to detect freebase cocaine using carbon paste electrode and methanol as the main cocaine solvent. The developed method was applied to detect cocaine in the artificial saliva by the square wave voltammetry (SWV). The current values increased linearly with the concentration of cocaine, which afforded construction of the analytical curve. The limit of detection (LoD) and the limit of quantifycation (LoQ) were determined as 0.90 µg/mL and 2.41 µg/mL, respectively. For comparison purposes, HPLC-DAD chromatographic method was also applied to detect cocaine. The corresponding analytical curve gave LoD = 0.043 µg/mL and LoQ = 0.130 µg/mL. Although showing better analytical results, HPLC-DAD method could not detect cocaine in saliva samples without previous treatment, what makes the electrochemical method much more attractive for this type of detection.
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