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GC-MS Analysis of Acylated Derivatives of the Side Chain Regioisomers of 4-Methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines Related to Methylenedioxymethamphetamine

NCJ Number
Journal of Chromatographic Science Volume: 45 Issue: 8 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 477-485
Date Published
September 2007
9 pages

This article reports on a project that conducted GC-MS analysis of acylated derivatives of the side-chain regioisomers of 4-methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines related to methylenedioxymethamphetamine.


The five side-chain regioisomers of 4-methoxy-3-methylphenethylamine constitute a unique set of compounds having an isobaric relationship with the controlled drug substance 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (3,4-MDMA or Ecstasy). These isomeric forms of the 4-methoxy-3-methylphenethylamines have mass spectra essentially equivalent to 3,4-MDMA, and all have a molecular weight of 193 and major fragment ions in their electron ionization mass spectra at m/z 58 and 135/136. Mass spectral differentiation of 2,3- and 3,4-MDMA from primary and secondary amine regioisomeric side chains of 4-methoxy-3-methylphenethylamines was possible after formation of the perfluoroacyl derivatives, pentafluoropropionamides and heptafluorobutyrylamides. The mass spectra for these derivatives are significantly individualized, and the resulting unique fragment ions allow for specific side-chain identification. The individualization is the result of fragmentation of the alkyl carbon-nitrogen bond, which yielded unique hydrocarbon fragments. The heptafluorobutyrylamide derivatives offer more fragment ions for molecular individualization among these regioisomeric substances. Gas chromatographic separation on relatively non-polar stationary phases successfully resolves these derivatives. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: September 1, 2007