Is Capillary Electrophoresis a Method of Choice for Systematic Toxicological Analysis?

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This review presents an overview of current research on the use of capillary electrophoretic techniques for the analysis of drugs in biological matrices. The discussion focuses on the applicability of the methods for the identification of unknown toxic compounds, which is defined as systematic toxicological analysis (STA). The aim is to establish whether or not capillary electrophoresis (CE), in one or more of its separation modes, is a method of choice in systematic toxicological analysis. To answer this question, various aspects are discussed, including sample work-up, separation modes, detection techniques, electrophoretic concentration, and identification by database retrieval. Several ways to improve the poor reproducibility and sensitivity are discussed. This leads to the conclusion that CE can be comparable to HPLC in those respects, while it is more favorable in speed, efficiency, and cost. Thus, we conclude that CE is a method of choice for STA, keeping in mind that every method has its limitations and that a combination of several non-correlated methods is always required for the identification of unknown compounds. Clin Chem Lab Med 2003; 41(6):773–781

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