Development of a Microcrystal Test For The Detection of Psilocin
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A microcrystal test is a chemical reaction at a microscopic level, which was developed in the 1800’s as a way to identify unknown alkaloids. Recently this type of testing has been experiencing a revival within forensic science due in part to the rise in drug cases being brought to forensic laboratories. The tests in its most basic form require only the use of a polarized light microscope, a small amount of sample material and a chemical reagent to facilitate a chemical reaction. Microcrystal tests are beneficial, as their analysis is relativity short requiring little to no preparation of the samples before analysis. There are microcrystal tests for many of the common street drugs, however, these tests were developed decades ago. Therefore a few of the reagents used to identify some of these common street drugs, such as trinitrobenzoic acid used for the identification of psilocin in “magic” mushrooms, are no longer commercially available, making it difficult, if not impossible, for laboratories to use these tests. Therefore the purpose of this thesis was to develop a new microcrystal test to detect the presence of psilocin, using the optical characteristics of the precipitated crystals. Psilocybin mushrooms are commonly referred to as “magic” mushrooms and contain the hallucinogen compounds psilocybin and psilocin. However psilocybin is unstable and rapidly dephosphorylates into psilocin, the main active and stable metabolite responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of the mushrooms. Due to psilocybin’s unstable nature the techniques used to identify hallucinogenic mushrooms, look for psilocin within the sample. These mushrooms are one of the most common type of hallucinogen seen today, though their use as a hallucinogen dates back thousands of years. With the rise in popularity of micro-dosing among young professionals, a new microcrystal tests using a readily available reagent would be beneficial. The creation of a new microcrystal test for psilocin was developed. The tests utilized either picric acid or bromine-HBr as a reagent to formed precipitated crystals. With picric acid the formation of plates and rosettes of plates signified the presence of psilocin and with bromine-HBr, psilocin was identified by the precipitation of rod shaped crystals.
Subjectmicrocrystal test, psilocin, magic mushrooms