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Research unit coordinated by Prof. Veniero Gambaro  

Components: Dott.ssa Lucia S. M. Dell'Acqua; Dott.ssa Gabriella Roda, Sig. Sebastiano Arnoldi, Dott.ssa Eleonora Casagni, Dott.ssa Fiorenza Farè, Dott. Giacomo Luca Visconti.

Research assistants: Dott.ssa Chiara Rusconi, Dott.ssa Martina Bava.

Our research team is interested in the development and application of analitycal strategies in the field of chemical and toxicological analysis either on biological specimen or on non-biological samples.

Quantitative analytical methods for the determination of drugs in medicines, in food products, supplements and in cosmetic preparations have also been developed.

Moreover, our group is involved in the optimization of analytical procedures for the characterization of polyphenols contained in grape seed extracts, in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Company Farmalabor in the frame of a project financed by Apulia region and in hemp seeds in collaboration with the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Milan within the project VELICA financed by Lombardy region.

In our Laboratory the main chromatographic techniques are applied: thin layer chromatography (TLC), instrumental techniques such as capillary gas-chromatography (GC) with FID, NPD and ECD detectors and gas-chromatography coupled to mass detectors as quadrupole, ion trap either in the electronic impact (EI) or in the chemical ionization (CI) mode, and time of flight (MS-TOF).

Particular attention is devoted to the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC) applying instruments which exploit the head space technique (HS) in particular GC/HS-MS instruments with auto-sampler for static (HS), dynamic (DHS) head space and purge and trap techniques.

Furthermore in our laboratory instruments for liquid chromatography (LC) with UV/Vis, DAD and triple quadrupole detectors (LC/MS-MS) are routinely employed for toxicological analysis.

The laboratory applies a quality management system in accordance with the UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 rules and is included among the employees of the anti-drug of abuse department of the Italian ministry of health.

The most important research projects of our team can be resumed as follows:

1) Analytical toxicology applied to non-biological samples
Development of methods for the forensics application of analytical toxicology in the detection of illicit drugs found in “street drugs”. In particular our laboratory has an agreement with the Court of Busto Arsizio and analyzes all the material seized at the Malpensa airport and collaborates with the principal Courts of Lombardy in particular with the Tribunal of Milan.

2) Studies on new drugs of abuse found on the illicit market
Our laboratory is involved in the characterization of new illegal drugs of abuse such as synthetic cannabinoids and hallucinogenic mushrooms. In this frame a project financed by the Italian ministry of education entitled “Alkylaminoindoles and cyclohexylphenols as smart drugs: analytical characterization and determination in biological and non-biological matrices” has been approved.

3) Drug analysis
Development of quality control methods for drugs and medicines, in order to evaluate degradation products and impurities and to control the stability of pharmaceutical, galenic, cosmetic and food preparations.

4) VOC analysis
Volatile organic compounds in non-biological and biological samples are determined using HS-GC/FID and HS-GC/MS techniques either in the static (HS) or in the dynamic head space (DHS) mode for the determination of residual solvents in drugs and medicines, for alcohol detection in blood samples and in the cases of poisoning caused by VOC.

 5) Analytical Toxicology applied to biological samples
Development of extractive and analytical methods for the identification and quantification of toxic substances to be applied to cadaveric samples (blood, urine, bile, keratin matrices, tissues) for forensic analysis in the frame of post-mortem analytical toxicology.

Development of methods applicable in the case of behavioral analytical toxicology in accordance with articles 186 (alcohol) and 187 (drugs of abuse) of the Highway Code and with article 125 of D.P.R., T.U. 309/1990 (workers employed in jobs involving risks for the security of other people) for the analysis of biological fluids and keratin matrices with the aim to evidence substances of abuse and active principles with therapeutic activity. In this frame our laboratory collaborates with Italian Diagnostic Centre (CDI) and with Toma Laboratory. Moreover our laboratory has an agreement with Buzzi Hospital for the detection in biological fluids of substances related to metabolic disorders.

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