Application of TOF-MS to forensic toxicology

Akira Ishii, Rina Kaneko, Yukari Hirata, Makoto Hamajima

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Time-of-flight (TOF)-mass spectrometry (MS) is not a new technique. In 1980s, TOF-MS was used as an analyzer for matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI); this combination much contributed to the proteome research. An orthogonal acceleration technique enabled TOF-MS to be an analyzer for the electrospray (ESI) interface; a quadrupole/orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometer (QqTOF-MS/MS) was developed in 1990s. De Leenheer's group developed some methods for identification of drugs of abuse, e.g. cocaine, amphetamines and opiates by QqTOF-MS/MS. However, this system is quite expensive and not easy to be handled; a single TOF-MS system thus can be an alternative technique for actual analyses of drugs and poisons. So far, the single TOF-MS has been applied mainly in environmental toxicology; it will be extensively applied in the field of forensic toxicology, because TOF-MS has higher mass resolution power and full spectral sensitivity. On the contrary, the dynamic range of TOF-MS is sometimes inferior to those of other MS or MS/MS systems; however, in an AccuTOF® mass spectrometer, developed by JEOL, its dynamic range has been much improved. Therefore, this system seems promising for both identification and quantitation of drugs of abuse and poisons. Our data have shown that the AccuTOF® MS system is very useful in analyzing aconitine alkaloids in human serum samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Forensic Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology


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