Magritek makes benchtop NMR available for drug analysis in forensic labs

Aachen, Germany – The market-leading benchtop Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) developer, Magritek, introduces its qIDsolve benchtop NMR software package, which is quickly being adopted by forensics laboratories around the world. Developed to meet the needs of regulated environments, the package includes: automated data acquisition, identification, quantification and reporting, embedded in a fully traceable environment that is supported by the most comprehensive benchtop NMR spectra database.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) reports about 1 million seizures of illicit drugs annually, the vast majority of which are related to known substances like cannabis, cocaine, and opioids. qIDsolve’s powerful cross-correlation algorithm provides automatic identification of these substances in a sample against the database.

The extensive benchtop NMR spectra database contains 1,500 compounds, collected in cooperation with a number of partners and laboratories around the world during the last 10 years. It is easy to expand and the whole database or defined entries can be easily selected to be shared with other systems.

However, drug enforcement authorities are also tasked with controlling a growing number of synthetic drugs / new psychoactive substances (NPS), for which there are no references in libraries of known substances. For these cases, the system offers a range of advanced methods that help to elucidate the structure. Once the substance is identified it can be added to qIDsolve’s database for routine testing.

NMR spectroscopy is inherently quantitative, therefore there is no need for timely and expensive calibration. The identity and purity of a sample can be determined from one measurement. However, until the development of the current generation of benchtop instruments, the cost and maintenance of a high field NMR system has limited its routine use in forensics. The Magritek Spinsolve benchtop NMR spectrometer overcomes the limitations of high field NMR and is already used in forensics labs around the world.

NMR can enhance the complete analytical suite and be integrated with other spectroscopic techniques which are currently routinely used in forensic labs, namely – Infrared (IR) spectroscopy, ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy and GC/MS.

Federico Casanova, CEO of Magritek, commented: “The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was monitoring around 930 new psychoactive substances at the end of 2022, 41 of which were first reported in Europe in 2022[i]. The US is facing a drug overdose epidemic that killed more than 100,000 people in 2022[ii] and is rarely out of the media spotlight. Authorities need a fast, accurate way to identify and quantify unknown substances to help in their fight against the criminals developing and distributing them.

NMR Spectroscopy is recognized by The Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG) as a Category A analytical technique, thanks to its exceptional discriminating power and the fact that it is inherently quantitative. With the latest benchtop NMR instruments and our dedicated qIDsolve software package, forensics labs around the world are benefiting from this powerful combination.”

The Italian Agency of Excise, Customs and Monopolies (ADM) has recently equipped its regional labs across Italy with benchtop NMR from Magritek, joining a number of other authorities around the world, such as the BKA, Federal Police and Customs labs in Germany, the DEA and Customs and Border Protection in USA, the Scientific Police and the SCL in France, Customs in Belgium, DSTL in the UK, and the Federal Police in Australia.

[i]  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2023), European Drug Report 2023: Trends and Developments

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2023), NCHS: A Blog of the National Center for Health Statistics, Provisional Data Shows U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Top 100,000 in 2022 | Blogs | CDC

About Magritek

Founded in 2004, Magritek is an advanced technology company exporting from Germany to customers all over the world. Magritek developed its flagship Spinsolve Benchtop NMR Spectrometer capable of multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, with the highest resolution and sensitivity performance on any benchtop instrument available today. Models include the Spinsolve ULTRA Multi-X, the world’s first benchtop NMR Spectrometer capable of automatically measuring multiple X-nuclei, for example 13C, 31P, 29Si.

Magritek provides complete NMR and MRI solutions for the fine chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer, food, and petrochemical industries, as well as components and subsystems suitable for research laboratories and chemistry education.

Magritek has offices in Philadelphia, USA, in Aachen, Germany and in Wellington, New Zealand.

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