The development of a method for the rapid screening of food and drug products for constituents such as mitragynine, the most abundant alkaloid found in Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) plant leaves, has become increasingly important. The use of kratom is said to produce stimulant or narcotic effects and poses risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence, much like other opioids. Direct Analysis in Real Time with thermal desorption mass spectrometry (DART-TD-MS), hand-held mass spectrometry, portable ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), and portable Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were each evaluated as field-deployable screening techniques for the detection of mitragynine in food and drug products. These devices offer the potential for rapid, early detection of mitragynine in suspect products entering the United States through international mail facilities and other ports of entry. Ninety-six kratom products, including capsules, bulk powder, and bulk plant material, were analyzed by either direct sampling of the solid material or by solvent extraction. True and false positive and negative results are reported, based on comparison to results from qualitative screening using gas chromatography with mass spectral detection (GC-MS), liquid chromatography with mass spectral detection (LC-MS), and/or quantitative screening using high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV), with a discussion of the assessment of each technique for use in the field. Each device demonstrated attributes that would be favorable for use in screening of suspected mitragynine-containing products at places like ports of entry, and simultaneous deployment of two or more of these devices as part of a workflow would be the most effective for rapid screening of these products. This combination of rapid screening orthogonal techniques suited to a non-laboratory environment will allow onsite destruction of products found to contain mitragynine.
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