Metrolab Blog

Blood alcohol content (BAC) GC analysis

Blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis is a widely used application in forensic laboratories.

The most important compound in BAC analysis is ethanol, but other significant alcohol and their metabolites (methanol, iso-propanol, acetone, acetaldehyde etc.) can be present in blood and can eventually interfere with ethanol quantification.
BAC is often performed in driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) investigations and in traffic accidents if people have been seriously injured. Therefore, accuracy and precision are critical in this kind of analysis because of the importance and legal relevance of these results.
The nearly universal method of choice for the BAC analysis in forensic laboratories is the headspace gas chromatography. The use of headspace sampling instead of direct injection prevents the introduction of non-volatile contamination at the head of the column and helps to reduce the need of inlet maintenance and extend column lifetime. Other advantages of automated headspace include better quantification, reduced sample preparation and increased throughput. Headspace analysis, in fact, allows a large number of samples to be analyzed quickly and with a minimal need of manual handling.
In particular, concerning the GC, dual-column GC analyses represents the best choice to provide blood alcohol confirmation in a few minutes.

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