Analytical Unit St Georges - University of London, London, UK
Rebecca Beauchamp, Alan Beeby, Heidi Sanderson, Jennifer Button, Terry Lee and David W Holt
Forensic entomology is a recognised method of estimating post-mortem interval, but relatively little research has examined the use of larvae in forensic toxicology. Forensic entomotoxicology includes the study of the effects of drugs and toxins on the development rate of carrion-feeding insects, and the use of these as alternative sample matrices in the absence of other samples. Analysis of living material, such as larvae, offers a number of technical advantages for drug detection over putrefied human remains. The extraction of drugs from larvae is the same as that from tissue, however, no emulsion is formed, whereas this is not always the case with human tissue. There is also less contamination observed from endogenous substances, which is particularly problematic with putrefied human remains. Larvae are usually present in abundance on decomposed bodies and sampling is often a relatively straight forward procedure. To date, most forensic entomotoxicological studies have concentrated on opiates rather than commonly prescribed drugs, such as benzodiazepines. LC/MS/MS is becoming widely used in toxicology laboratories and is an established technique for screening and quantifying benzodiazepines. A rapid, sensitive and selective LC/MS/MS method for the identification of diazepam and its metabolites; desmethyldiazepam, oxazepam and temazepam in liver and fly larvae sampled from spiked porcine liver is described. Diazepam, first approved for usage in the early 1960s, is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs of the benzodiazepine group. Its uses include; treatment of anxiety and anxiety related insomnia, muscle relaxant, anti-epileptic and pre-operative... [continua]
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