Rapid detection and quantification of paracetamol and its major metabolites using surface enhanced Raman scattering

AlMasoud, Najla, Alomar, Taghrid S, Xu, Yun ORCID: 0000-0003-3228-5111, Lima, Cassio ORCID: 0000-0002-9062-6298 and Goodacre, Royston ORCID: 0000-0003-2230-645X
(2023) Rapid detection and quantification of paracetamol and its major metabolites using surface enhanced Raman scattering. ANALYST, 148 (8). pp. 1805-1814.

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Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that is commonly used as an analgesic for mild pain, headache, cold and flu. While in the short term it is a safe and effective medicine, it is sometimes used for attempted suicides particularly in young adults. In such circumstances it is important for rapid diagnosis of overdoses as antidotes can be given to limit liver damage from one of its primary metabolites <i>N</i>-acetyl-<i>p</i>-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI). Unfortunately, the demand for rapid and sensitive analytical techniques to accurately monitor the abuse of OTC drugs has significantly risen. Ideally these techniques would be highly specific, sensitive, reproducible, portable and rapid. In addition, an ideal point of care (PoC) test would enable quantitative detection of drugs and their metabolites present in body fluids. While Raman spectroscopy meets these specifications, there is a need for enhancement of the signal because the Raman effect is weak. In this study, we developed a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) methodology in conjunction with chemometrics to quantify the amount of paracetamol and its main primary metabolites (<i>viz</i>., paracetamol sulfate, <i>p</i>-acetamidophenyl β-D-glucuronide and NAPQI) in water and artificial urine. The enhancement of the SERS signals was achieved by mixing the drug or xenometabolites with a gold nanoparticle followed by aggregation with 0.045 M NaCl. We found that the SERS data could be collected directly, due to immediate analyte association with the Au surface and colloid aggregation. Accurate and precise measurements were generated, with a limit of detection (LoD) of paracetamol in water and artificial urine at 7.18 × 10<sup>-6</sup> M and 2.11 × 10<sup>-5</sup> M, respectively, which is well below the limit needed for overdose and indeed normal levels of paracetamol in serum after taking 1 g orally. The predictive values obtained from the analysis of paracetamol in water and artificial urine were also excellent, with the coefficient of determination (<i>Q</i><sup>2</sup>) being 0.995 and 0.996, respectively (1 suggests a perfect model). It was noteworthy that when artificial urine was spiked with paracetamol, no aggregating agent was required due to the salt rich medium, which led to spontaneous aggregation. Moreover, for the xenometabolites of paracetamol excellent LoDs were obtained and these ranged from 2.6 × 10<sup>-4</sup> M to 5 × 10<sup>-5</sup> M with paracetamol sulfate and NAPQI having <i>Q</i><sup>2</sup> values of 0.934 and 0.892 and for <i>p</i>-acetamidophenyl β-D-glucuronide this was slightly lower at 0.6437.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Sodium Chloride, Gold, Water, Acetaminophen, Glucuronides, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Metal Nanoparticles, Young Adult
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2023 08:40
Last Modified: 01 May 2023 11:14
DOI: 10.1039/d3an00249g
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1039/D3AN00249G
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URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3169636