While building molecular machines, researchers stumbled upon a new method to detect ecstasy. The discovery can lead to more reliable drug tests.
Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) in Spain have discovered a new technique to detect ecstasy that is extremely reliable and simple to use.
According to the researchers, many of the testing methods used today often require advanced instruments that are expensive and/or only found in laboratories. Often, there is also a waiting time in connection with the test results. Furthermore, there is also the recurring issue that many methods trigger a false positive a little too often – i.e. showing that a person tested positive for ecstasy even though subsequent tests show otherwise.
– It is our impression that a need exists for more reliable, user-friendly and cheaper tests. What makes our method stand out is that it can detect even small traces, said Jan O. Jeppesen, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern Denmark.
New testing kits
His research colleagues, Ramón Martínez-Máñez and Félix Sancenón from the Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia and the CIBER-BBN in Spain, also noted that their method had several advantages.
– We have discovered that a certain molecular activity can detect even very small traces of the active compound in ecstasy, MDMA, with almost 100 percent certainty. This knowledge can be used to develop cheap testing kits that are easy to transport and not least use.
The researchers’ new method can detect a solution equivalent to 1 gram of MDMA in 1000 litres of water.
They have recently published their findings and method in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications.