The cyanide metabolite 2-aminothiazoline-4-carboxylic acid (ATCA) is a promising biomarker for cyanide exposure because of its stability and the limitations of direct determination of cyanide and more abundant cyanide metabolites. A simple, sensitive, and specific method based on derivatization and subsequent gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis was developed for the identification and quantification of ATCA in synthetic urine and swine plasma. The urine and plasma samples were spiked with an internal standard (ATCA-d2), diluted, and acidified. The resulting solution was subjected to solid phase extraction on a mixed-mode cation exchange column. After elution and evaporation of the solvent, a silylating agent was used to derivatize the ATCA. Quantification of the derivatized ATCA was accomplished on a gas chromatograph with a mass selective detector. The current method produced a coefficient of variation of less than 6% (intra- and interassay) for two sets of quality control (QC) standards and a detection limit of 25 ng/ml. The applicability of the method was evaluated by determination of elevated levels of ATCA in human urine of smokers in relation to non-smokers for both males and females.
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