King's College London

Research portal

The complexities associated with new psychoactive substances in influent wastewater: the case of 4‐ethylmethcathinone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Richard Bade, Vincenzo Abbate, Ahmed Abdelaziz, Lynn Nguyen, Stephen Trobbiani, Peter Stockham, Simon Elliot, Jason M. White, Cobus Gerber

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1500
Number of pages7
JournalDrug Testing & Analysis
Issue number10
Published1 Oct 2020

King's Authors


Consumption of new psychoactive substances (NPS) is an international problem for health, policing, forensic, and analytical laboratories. The transience of these substances in the community, combined with continual slight structural changes to evade legislation makes the elucidation of NPS an analytical challenge. This is amplified in a matrix as complex as wastewater. For that reason, suspect and non-target methodologies, employing high resolution mass spectrometry are the most appropriate current tool to facilitate the identification of new and existing compounds. In the current work, a qualitative screening method of influent wastewater using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry showed a strong signal at m/z 192.1382 – identical to that of two NPS standards that were in our method (pentedrone and 4-methylethcathinone), and with identical fragment ions, but the retention times did not match. This work shows the methodology followed to identify this compound, highlighting the challenges of the identifying “new” compounds in influent wastewater.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454