Solid Phase Extraction & In-Well Hydrolysis for Analyzing Abusive Drugs

The increase of testing drugs of abuse radically defines the workload for many laboratories, requiring testing methods to be accurate, reliable, and quick, which is where In-Well Hydrolysis and SPE (solid phase extraction) come in.

Clean-up of sample matrices by sample preparation (i.e. whole blood, plasma, urine) is one of the biggest pain points for labs who require fast methods. The most common sample matrix for drugs of abuse testing is urine, due to the non-invasive collection and minimal sample pre-treatment necessary before analysis.  Urine laboratories often revert to performing a dilute-and-shoot (for a quick, yet clean alternative to dilute-and-shoot, read about our sample prep option here). But for labs who need added sensitivity and even cleaner samples, solid phase extraction is the optimal sample preparation technique. However, SPE (solid phase extraction) workflows frequently cause a serious impact on time. And while the longer column lifetimes and more sensitive results are a plus, the specificity of the steps and method development can seem like a temporary productivity killer.  For large throughput laboratories, the smallest changes in workflows can have a significant impact on a work load.

This is where Strata®-X-Drug B Plus 96-Well Plates come in…but first, let’s examine the original Strata-X-Drug B product.

Strata-X-Drug B was designed to extract basic drugs of abuse from urine, plasma, whole blood, or serum.  This SPE product required no conditioning or equilibration, which significantly saved time without sacrificing recoveries.  For a panel of 22 basic drugs of abuse, all recoveries were above 96% and the %CVs were less than or equal to 3 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

drugs of abuse - analysis of 22 basic drugs

To help save even more time and increase productivity, Strata-X-Drug Plus works to eliminate transfer steps by allowing for an in-well hydrolysis solution for urine drug testing.  Instead of having to perform an enzyme hydrolysis in a separate tube, all that is required is the simple loading of urine and hydrolysis solution onto the sorbent, wait time for incubation, and then pulse vacuuming when ready to load onto SPE sorbent. This effectively starts the SPE protocol.

Before loading onto SPE sorbent, you will need to adjust the pH if necessary to ensure optimal extraction conditions, so that the pH is between 4-6.  By skipping the transfer steps, it is not only going to save time, but also going to reduce the cost of consumables and extra laboratory waste.

If using an organic internal standard, ensure that the volume of organic is not more than 10% of the total volume and that it is added as the final step in the hydrolysis.  After the SPE protocol starts, proceed to wash the well with a solvent of choosing and then elute with a stronger organic to collect analytes off the cartridge.

The workflow for the below is laid out in Figure 2.

Figure 2

drugs of abuse workflow analysis

With the added sensitivity and clean-up of Strata-X-Drug B Plus, along with the workflow solution that this product provides, the choice is obvious!

To learn more about Strata-X-Drug B Plus, go to or reach out to your Phenomenex sales representative to ask how to get a FREE sample.

SPE Technical Resources

Explore the NEW Strata-X-Drug B Brochure

Strata-X-Drug B

Optimized Workflow for Drugs of Abuse Testing Technical Application

Drugs of Abuse Testing Application

Analysis of Synthetic Cathinones (Bath Salts) Technical Application

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