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Capillary Ion Electrophoresis in Forensic Science

Forensic Science

  1. Kenneth E. Ferslew,
  2. Andrea N. Hagardorn

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1112

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Ferslew, K. E. and Hagardorn, A. N. 2006. Capillary Ion Electrophoresis in Forensic Science. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Electrolyte concentrations can be determined in biological specimens by a number of analytical techniques including flame emission spectrophotometry, atomic absorption spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and potentiometry with an ion-specific electrode. Capillary ion electrophoresis (CIE) is an adaptation of free zone capillary electrophoresis to a particular electrophoretic analysis of highly mobile low-molecular-weight ions.

Vitreous humor electrolyte and nitrogenous compound concentrations are often used to determine potential antemortem disease states or the time interval between time of death and time of autopsy (postmortem interval). Potassium ion concentration in the vitreous humor increases after death, and determination of its concentration in vitreous humor is often used to estimate the postmortem interval.

Lithium ion is considered valuable in the treatment of certain types of mania and major endogenous depression and is even used in the treatment of cluster headaches. The optimum dosage is best determined by monitoring serum lithium concentrations. Lithium toxicity can occur with elevated serum lithium concentrations and repeated measurement every 3 h of serum lithium concentrations is recommended for intoxicated patients to differentiate acute poisoning from chronic toxicity and to determine the best course of therapy.

The development of the CIE methodology reported herein offers a different qualitative and quantitative analytical technique to detect these ions in biological fluids and tissues. Application of CIE analysis for detection and quantitation of potassium and lithium ions in biological fluids and tissues commonly collected and analyzed in clinical and forensic toxicology is described.