In by admin

Name Chiara Deriu
Organization or Institution Florida International University
Presentation Type Poster
Topic Analytical Chemistry

SERS-based Screening Test for Synthetic Cannabinoids in Oral Fluid


Chiara Deriu1,2, MS; Irene Conticello1,3, MS; Bruce McCord1,2, PhD

Author Institution(s)

1 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
2 International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
3 Department of Chemistry “G. Ciamician”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy


Synthetic cannabinoids are new psychoactive substances (NPS’s) that represent a worldwide issue due to unknown toxicological effects and widespread use among the young population. Moreover, the rapidity by which these compounds are modified and introduced into the illegal market makes it difficult to detect them using standard screening methods, such as immunoassays. Cross-reactivity between different species, and false negative responses severely limit this approach. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) has been shown by our research group to have great potential to solve these problems, by providing a sensitive and selective screening approach that yields fingerprint signals from xenobiotics at toxicological concentrations. This was achieved on benzodiazepines, both as standard solutions and in spiked urine matrices [1,2], and more recently, on standard solutions of synthetic cannabinoids [3].
The present project illustrates an in-depth study of the behavior of model synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 on gold nanoparticles, and the optimization of a quick extraction procedure to be coupled to SERS for its detection in oral fluid.
This project was supported by Award #2015-IJ-CX-K006 by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

[1] Doctor, E.L.; McCord, B. Analyst, 2013,138, 5926–5932.
[2] Doctor, E.L.; McCord, B. Talanta, 2015, 144, 938–943.
[3] Mostowtt, T.; McCord, B. Talanta, 2017, 164, 396–402.