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Strano Rossi S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Odoardi S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Gregori A.,Viale Tor di Quinto | Peluso G.,Viale Tor di Quinto | And 5 more authors.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry

RATIONALE New psychoactive substances (NPSs) are rapidly spreading worldwide, and forensic laboratories are often requested to identify new substances for which no reference standards or analytical data are available. This article describes an analytical approach that was adopted in Italy by a few collaborative centres of the Italian Early Warning System for Drugs, which has contributed many alerts for the identification of different classes of NPSs in the last 24 months. METHODS Seized crystals and powders were initially analysed via single quadrupole gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), followed by liquid chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC/HRMS) in the positive electrospray ionisation (ESI) mode at 100 000 full width at half maximum resolution (FWHM) without fragmentation to elucidate the elemental compositions of unknown molecules. Different fragmentation voltages during LC/HRMS were applied to study the accurate masses of the obtained characteristic fragments. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses were performed to identify specific isomers when necessary. RESULTS Some interesting examples of unknown NPSs from seizures later identified in our laboratories are reported, with special focus on those cases where analytical standards were not available during analyses. These cases include cathinones, such as 3-methylmethcathinone (3-MMC), methylone, bk-MBDB (butylone), 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC), flephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and pentedrone, methoxetamine, apinaca or AKB48, benzydamine, meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP), 5-MeO-N,N-dialkyl tryptamines, such as 5-MeO-DALT and 5-MeOMIPT, benzofurans, such as 6-APB and 4-APB, and diphenidine (identified for the first time in Europe). CONCLUSIONS The identification of NPSs in confiscated materials was successfully achieved via GC/MS coupled with LC/HRMS and, in a few cases, NMR analyses. The availability of GC/MS libraries is of great assistance in the identification of new drugs. Alternatively, the study of characteristic molecule fragments combined with the determination of their accurate masses can be a useful approach to identify unknown samples not previously analysed. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Frascadore R.,University of Naples Federico II | Di Ludovico M.,University of Naples Federico II | Prota A.,University of Naples Federico II | Verderame G.M.,University of Naples Federico II | And 3 more authors.
Earthquake Spectra

Recent earthquakes have clearly shown the high vulnerability of existing reinforced concrete (RC) structures. There is a crucial need to find cost-effective and efficient strategies and methods to strengthen a large number of buildings (i.e., at a regional scale) before future major earthquakes occur. A viable strategy to prevent potential damage caused by earthquakes could be to selectively upgrade local capacity of individual structural components. In the aftermath of the 6 April 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, local retrofit work based on the use of fiber polymer reinforcement (FRP) were executed to increase the seismic capacity of lightly damaged public and private buildings. According to theoretical analyses carried out on six reinforced concrete (RC) school buildings in L'Aquila, a seismic safety level of about 60% of that requested in the design of a new building can be achieved in most cases by FRP-based strengthening of exterior joints. © 2015, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Source

Strano-Rossi S.,University Cattolica Del ore | Odoardi S.,University Cattolica Del ore | Castrignano E.,University Cattolica Del ore | Serpelloni G.,Presidency of Council of Ministers | Chiarotti M.,University Cattolica Del ore
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis

The paper describes a liquid chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry LC/HRMS method for the simultaneous identification and quantification of stimulants (ephedrines, caffeine, anorectic drugs such as phentermine, phendimetrazine, phenmetrazine, fenfluramine, benfluorex, mephentermine, fencanfamine, sibutramine) and PDE5I (sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil) in food supplements using a benchtop Orbitrap mass spectrometer. The mass detector, with a nominal resolving power of 100,000 (FWHM at m/z 200), operated in full scan mode in ESI positive ionization mode. Analytes were identified by retention times, accurate masses and correspondence of experimental and calculated isotopic patterns. The limits of detection (LOD) obtained varied from 1 to 25 ng g-1 and limits of quantification (LOQ) were 50 ng g-1 for all compounds. The method was linear for all the analytes in the ranges from 50 to 2000 ng g-1, giving correlation coefficients > 0.99. Accuracy (intended as %E) and repeatability (% CV) were always lower than 15%. The method was applied to the analysis of 36 dietary supplements, revealing the presence of ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine in four of them, caffeine in eight of them and sildenafil in four of them. In one case, ephedrine was not reported on the label of the dietary supplement, as well as for caffeine in other two cases. A further confirmation of the analytes identity in positive samples was obtained through in-source fragmentation and comparison of the obtained fragments and their relative abundances with those from certified standards. As the acquisition mode is full scan, it would be also possible to re-process a previously acquired datafile for the investigation of untargeted analytes. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Di Ludovico M.,University of Naples Federico II | Prota A.,University of Naples Federico II | Moroni C.,Presidency of Council of Ministers | Manfredi G.,University of Naples Federico II | Dolce M.,Presidency of Council of Ministers
Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

Assessment of the seismic damage and usability of the building stock started a few days after the L’Aquila earthquake in order to evaluate the safety conditions of the buildings concerned. Several ordinances of the Prime Minister were issued to regulate the reconstruction process. In particular, based also on damage level, the procedures for repair, strengthening or demolition/reconstruction of residential buildings were established with the definition of relevant state funding. For each damaged building, practitioners engaged by property owners designed repair and strengthening interventions and then computed the corresponding costs. These projects were the technical basis for funding applications that owners submitted to the government. Technical and financial information collected during the approval procedure of such applications allowed compilation of a database regarding 5775 residential buildings damaged by the L’Aquila earthquake. The present study examines the restoration policy and the procedures regulating the reconstruction process of residential property outside city centres. In particular, the data related to the first phase of the reconstruction process (the so-called “light damage” reconstruction) to recover the usability of slightly damaged buildings are illustrated. The discussion focuses on the time-to-approval of funding applications and on the public contributions granted for repair and local strengthening works. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Source

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