Iranian researchers use nanotechnology for detecting pain medication 

July 10, 2019

TEHRAN- Iranian researchers have discovered a novel method for measuring morphine and codeine in blood and urine samples as quickly and precisely as possible. 

This is a novel magnetic solid-phase extraction technique that uses a ternary nano-composite for simultaneous extraction and measurement of morphine and codeine in biological samples, Iran Nanotechnology Innovation Council announced on Monday. 

Nano-composite is a multiphase solid material where one of the phases has one, two or three dimensions of less than 100 nanometers (nm) or structures having nano-scale repeat distances between the different phases that make up the material.

The project was carried out jointly by researchers in Tabriz’s Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University and University of Zanjan. 

According to Prof. Hossein Abdolmohammad-Zadeh, faculty member at Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University, the ternary nano-composite is created by synthesis of three components: magnetic iron oxide, Graphene oxide nanosheets and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). 

The ternary nano-composite was used as a nano-sorbent in pre-concentration phase and before injecting the liquid into the chromatography device, said Abdolmohammad-Zadeh. 

“Biological samples have a complex texture and include a variety of organic and mineral compounds; therefore it is hard to identify the anesthetic components among them, but with using nanotechnology we have now discovered a novel and precise way to identify such elements,” he added. 

“Today, detecting the painkillers in biological samples has become more important than ever, because the usage of them has increased and it is necessary for physicians to know the exact amount of such compounds in the body; moreover, as they are also used as narcotics, detection of them can majorly help police investigations,” he noted. 

According to Abdolmohammad-Zadeh, up to now, mass spectrometry (MS) has been the most common method used for detecting morphine and codeine, but mass spectrometers are usually very expensive, so using the novel ternary nano-composite can be a good replacement for old methods.

The research has also been published in Journal of Chromatography. 

SJ/MG

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