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ERIC Number: EJ820863
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
The Mysterious Death: An HPLC Lab Experiment. An Undergraduate Forensic Lab
Beussman, Douglas J.
Journal of Chemical Education, v84 n11 p1809-1812 Nov 2007
A high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) laboratory experiment based on the separation of four prescription drugs (disopyramide, lidocaine, procainamide, and quinidine) is presented. The experiment is set within the forensic science context of the discovery of a patient's mysterious death where a drug overdose is suspected. Each lab group is provided with drug standards of known concentration and a simulated "blood" extract from the patient. Each group must determine whether the patient died of a drug overdose or through natural causes. This requires each drug standard to be analyzed separately to determine its retention time. The group must then analyze the "blood" to identify which drugs are present. After establishing the identity of any drugs present in the "blood", multiple drug injections of varying concentrations are performed to construct a calibration curve of peak area versus concentration. This can be used to determine the quantity of each drug present in the "blood". The students must also search the literature to determine possible drug interactions as well as normal and lethal doses of each drug, before reaching a conclusion about whether the patient died of a drug overdose, and if so whether it was likely accidental or intentional. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A