Development of a headspace GC-FID method for the detection of alcohol in samples of UK motorist's blood and urine

Taylor, Luke (2019) Development of a headspace GC-FID method for the detection of alcohol in samples of UK motorist's blood and urine. (MSc(R) thesis), Kingston University, .


Ethanol is one of the most well studied and researched drugs available to man and the effects of ethanol on the human body are of particular interest with the effects on decision making and reaction times in relation to driving being a key area of research, with legislation relating to levels of alcohol within the human body which can be considered safe for vehicle operation being written as a direct result of these studies. Analysis of blood and urine alcohol content is one of the most common forensic toxicological analyses carried out and methods developed to quantify and detect alcohol in biological samples such as blood and urine are vital in areas such as road traffic toxicology where an accurate and trustworthy quantitation is required to determine if a suspected drunk driver is in fact under the influence of alcohol whilst in charge of a vehicle. The method development and validation process are designed to demonstrate the capability of an analytical instrument to achieve this quantitation. A method was developed using headspace gas chromatography with flame ionisation detection (HS- GC-FID) using an HTA 200 H headspace auto sampler, BAC plus 1 and plus 2 columns and dual FID 2014 detectors and tertiary butanol as an internal standard. The accuracy, precision and parameters such as linearity were tested and validated according to a pre- determined validation plan. It was determined that a separation of ethanol and acetone was achieved on one column and the accuracy and precision is within the set parameters of the validation plan. The method was successfully validated, and the next step of the experimentation was the testing of storage stability which involved testing the stability of blood, urine and QC samples at room temperature for up to one month and the testing of freeze thaw stability for up to two-cycles. It was determined that most samples were stable throughout the stability testing period and there was largely no significant effect on alcohol concentration throughout the testing phases.

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