In a recently published paper in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (Katie M Rubin, Bruce A Goldberger, Timothy J Garrett, Detection of Chemical Weapon Nerve Agents in Bone by Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Volume 44, Issue 4, May 2020, Pages 391–401, https://doi.org/10.1093/jat/bkz118), the hypothesis that nerve agent metabolites interact with bone was assessed through a validated extraction method with detection via LC-MS featuring both quadrupole time- of -flight and triple quadrupole techniques. The compounds evaluated include: MPA, EMPA, IMPA, iBuMPA, CMPA, and PMPA, associated with the nerve agents VX, Russian VX, sarin, cyclosarin and soman respectively.
Due to the polarity, hydrophilicity, and acidity, these above nerve agents are historically difficult to extract during sample clean-up. This makes them prime candidates for UCT’s Clean Screen® ETG graphitized carbon columns, where the primary interaction at play is surface area adsorption. Despite dealing with some levels of ion suppression, the achieved limits of detection using this extraction approach were lower than most of those published for the same analytes in other biological matrices such as serum and urine. This method can now be explored further for using bone to detect the use of chemical weapons from postmortem biomatrices even well after a suspected attack.