Measurement and analysis of diastereomer ratios for forensic characterization of brodifacoum

Forensic Sci Int. 2012 Jan 10;214(1-3):178-81. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.08.003. Epub 2011 Aug 31.


The highly toxic anticoagulant rodenticide brodifacoum is an organic compound that has two diastereomeric forms. In this paper, we consider the hypothesis that the relative population of the diastereomers is a characteristic of forensic value for the association or source attribution of specimens of brodifacoum. In general, the stereoisomer distribution in an organic compound depends on the reagents, conditions, and methods used for synthesis and purification, and may vary over time due to differential stabilities of the stereoisomers. The stereoisomer distribution may thus serve as an identifier of the production methods and history of samples and provide a basis for comparing recovered specimens. We refer to this novel approach for signature detection as stereoisomer distribution analysis or SDA. If the stereoisomers are diastereomers, quantitative determination of the diastereomer ratio in a specimen can be performed by a number of techniques, notably gas or liquid chromatography or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This paper describes an NMR spectroscopic analysis of ten commercial technical grade brodifacoum samples from distinct batches originating from three different sources. The results reveal detectable source-to-source and batch-to-batch variations in diastereomer ratios.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.