Ask the Editor: Chromatographic Techniques for Sports Doping Tests

May 26, 2007

E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-05-26-2007, Volume 0, Issue 0

According to an Agilent Technologies publication on sports drug testing (1), the first screening step (with a urine sample, for example) typically is performed using gas chromatography (GC).

A reader recently asked:

What chromatographic techniques are used in sports doping tests?

According to an Agilent Technologies publication on sports drug testing (1), the first screening step (with a urine sample, for example) typically is performed using gas chromatography (GC). Components such as peptide hormones, which are destroyed in the GC vaporizing process, are screened using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Mass spectrometry (MS) detection is often used to confirm the chemical identity of the banned substance.

Compounds of interest include stimulants such as amphetamines, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, peptide hormones, and other restricted drugs such as marijuana and beta blockers. When Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, drug testing in high-level athletics became front-page news for the first time. In that case, GC-MS was used to detect two metabolites of stanozolol that are found only after chronic use.

(1) http://www.agilent.com/about/newsroom/lsca/background/2007/ bg_sports_drug_testing.pdf

Steve Brown, LCGC technical editor of 18 years, will answer your technical questions. Each month, one question will be selected to appear in this space, so we welcome your submissions. Please send all questions to the attention of "Ask the Editor" at lcgcedit@lcgcmag.com. We look forward to hearing from you.