Test Identifies Toxics

Photo: Bottle with clear fluid

Medications glow green with the
new test, if there are any toxics
inside; © SXC

The painstaking process of detecting toxic species of platinum and palladium mixed in with the form of platinum essential to certain pharmaceuticals could be reduced to one simple step, researchers report in the online edition of the “Journal of the American Chemical Society”.

A fluorogenic solution glows bright green when it comes in contact with the poisonous forms of palladium and platinum known as Pd(II) and Pt(IV), respectively. These two elements are typically broken down into the platinum species Pt(0), which is used in medications to suppress various reactive oxygen species responsible for inflammation and other maladies. But residual amounts of Pd(II) and, particularly, the more toxic Pt(IV) can remain and pose a health risk.

To root out Pd(II) and Pt(IV) requires the removal of other metals and impurities before testing. The new method provides a fast, easy, and inexpensive alternative, the scientists state. Moreover, current analysis cannot detect Pt(IV) in Pt(0) samples at levels below 2,000 parts per million, they say. The new technique can indicate Pt(IV) content as low as two parts per million.

“Our method does not require any pretreatment,” lead researcher Kazunori Koide said. “Our technique detects even minute traces of toxic palladium and platinum in hours instead of days. It could reduce pharmaceutical development time by weeks and help in making a safer product.”

Koide began this project after a major pharmaceutical company contacted him about research he published in 2007 regarding a fluorogenic indicator for detecting palladium/platinum deposits in soil samples. It relied on a colorless fluorescein-based solution that-when exposed to blue light-glows green when it comes in contact with palladium, which coexists with platinum in nature. The Pd(II)/Pt(IV) detector involves the same fluorogenic solution used in a different way.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Pittsburgh