• forensic science;
  • secobarbital;
  • amobarbital;
  • barbital;
  • phenobarbital;
  • capillary zone electrophoresis;
  • sample stacking;
  • large volume

Abstract:  In China, some forensic cases are caused by barbiturates. Thus, the determination of trace level barbiturates in body fluid is important for the poisoning investigation. In this study, an online large-volume sample stacking (LVSS) with polarity switching in capillary electrophoresis (CE) was applied for the sensitive determination of barbiturates. This technique involves injecting a large volume of sample into a capillary and removing the sample matrix plug out of the capillary by reversing the polarity. Quantitation limit obtained was 0.048, 0.057, 0.039, and 0.015 μg/mL for secobarbital, amobarbital, barbital, and phenobarbital (signal-to-noise ratio = 9). By using LVSS, the stacking was simply achieved at 171.7-, 169.7-, 202.7-, and 169.1-fold for the above four barbiturates. The relative standard deviation values of intraday and interday were <2.11% and 4.69%, respectively. Recoveries were ranged from 83.7 to 105.2%. Finally, the trace analysis method was applied to the analysis of real forensic specimens and has achieved satisfactory results.