Direct analysis of psychoactive tryptamine and harmala alkaloids in the Amazonian botanical medicine ayahuasca by liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry
A direct injection/liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry procedure has been developed for the simultaneous quantitation of 11 compounds potentially found in the increasingly popular Amazonian botanical medicine and religious sacrament ayahuasca. The method utilizes a deuterated internal standard for quantitation and affords rapid detection of the alkaloids by a simple dilution assay, requiring no extraction procedures. Further, the method demonstrates a high degree of specificity for the compounds in question, as well as low limits of detection and quantitation despite using samples for analysis that had been diluted up to 200:1. This approach also appears to eliminate potential matrix effects. Method bias for each compound, examined over a range of concentrations, was also determined as was inter- and intra-assay variation. Its application to the analysis of three different ayahuasca preparations is also described. This method should prove useful in the study of ayahuasca in clinical and ethnobotanical research as well as in forensic examinations of ayahuasca preparations.
Keywords: Ayahuasca; Dimethyltryptamine; Harmala Alkaloids; Direct injection; LC/MS/MS