Indexed on: 06 Jul '14Published on: 06 Jul '14Published in: Journal of analytical toxicology
Atractyloside (ATR) and carboxyatractyloside (CATR) are diterpene glycosides that are responsible for the toxicity of several Asteraceae plants around the world. Mediterranean gum thistle (Atractylis gummifera L.) and Zulu impila (Callilepis laureola DC.), in particular, are notoriously poisonous and the cause of many accidental deaths, some suicides and even some murders. There is no current method for measuring the two toxins in biological samples that meet the criteria of specificity required in forensic medicine. We have endeavored to fill this analytical gap. Analysis was carried out using a solid-phase extraction and a high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry detection. The method was validated in the whole blood with quantification limits of 0.17 and 0.15 µg/L for ATR and CATR, respectively. The method was applied to a non-fatal case of intoxication with A. gummifera. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that a concentration of ATR and CATR in blood (883.1 and 119.0 µg/L, respectively) and urine (230.4 and 140.3 µg/L, respectively) is reported. ATR and CATR were quantified in A. gummifera roots by the standard method addition (3.7 and 5.4 mg/g, respectively).