Analysis of doping control samples using supercritical fluid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry: Ready for routine use

Bernhard Wuest, Ivana Gavrilović*, David Cowan, Xavier de la Torre, Francesco Botrè, Maria Kristina Parr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Supercritical fluid chromatography is proving to be a good separation and sample preparation tool for various analytical applications and, as such, has gained the attention of the anti-doping community. Here, the applicability of supercritical fluid chromatography hyphenated to tandem mass spectrometry for routine doping control analysis was tested. A multi-analyte method was developed to cover 197 drugs and metabolites that are prohibited in sport. More than 1000 samples were analyzed by applying a “dilute and inject” approach after hydrolysis of glucuronide metabolites. Additionally, a comparison with routinely used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was performed with 250 of the 1000 samples and a number of past positive anti-doping samples. It revealed some features where supercritical fluid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was found to be complementary or advantageous to liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for anti-doping purposes, such as better retention of analytes that are poorly retained in reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Our results suggest that supercritical fluid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry is sensitive (limit of detection <50% relevant minimum required performance level required by the World Anti-Doping Agency for anti-doping analysis), reproducible, robust, precise (analytes of interest area coefficient of variation <5%; retention time difference coefficient of variation <1%) and complementary to existing techniques currently used for routine analysis in the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200880
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • bioanalysis
  • doping agents
  • drugs
  • method performance
  • reliability

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