U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Myocontamination of Illicit Samples of Heroin and Cocaine as an Indicator of Adulteration

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: (May 1991) Pages: 844-856
E Dominguez-Vilches; R Duran-Gonzalez; F Infante; A Luna-Maldonna
Date Published
13 pages
The fungal spectrum of brown and white heroin and cocaine sold in the streets of Spain was analyzed to determine the use as indicators of the extent of adulteration as well as their toxicological potential.
Of the 205 drug samples from sachets seized by the Spanish police during 1985 and 1986, 106 were brown heroin, 69 white heroin, and 30 cocaine. Samples cultured in appropriate medium grew 91 colonies of micellar fungi from 53 taxa, of which only 8 were found in the 3 types of drugs. Statistical analyses revealed brown heroin to be significantly more contaminated by fungi on the basis of numbers of colonies per milligram of sample than the other two drugs. Forty-five of the 54 taxa isolated were found in brown heroin, with 275 colonies. Samples of white heroin contained 68 colonies of 18 taxa, while cocaine samples included 48 colonies of 13 taxa. The potential pathogenicity to man of the different isolated taxa includes allergies, pulmonary mycosis, sporosis, systemic or subcutaneous mucormycosis, and asthma. The fact that brown heroin is more contaminated and heterogeneous in the taxa found in its samples suggests that the contaminants may be introduced during its synthesis or during adulteration with contaminated substances. 3 figures, 8 tables, and 10 references (Author abstract modified)


No download available