Determination and in-depth chromatographic analyses of alkaloids in South American and greenhouse-cultivated coca leaves

J Chromatogr A. 1994 Jan 21;659(1):163-75. doi: 10.1016/0021-9673(94)85018-6.


Methodology is described for the detection and/or determination of cocaine and minor alkaloids in South American coca as well as in greenhouse- and tropical-cultivated field coca of known taxonomy. Coca leaf from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia were subjected to the determination of cocaine, cis- and trans-cinnamoylcocaine, tropacocaine, hygrine, cuscohygrine and the isomeric truxillines. The greenhouse samples were cocaine-bearing leaves of the genus Erythroxylum and included E. coca var. coca, E. novogranatense var. novogranatense and E. novogranatense var. truxillense, and the alkaloids determined were cocaine, ecgonine methyl ester, cuscohygrine, tropacocaine and the cinnamoylcocaines. The tropical-cultivated coca were E. novogranatense var. novogranatense and E. coca var. coca. Cocaine and minor alkaloids were isolated from basified powdered leaf samples using a toluene extractant, followed by acid-Celite column chromatography. The isolated alkaloids were determined by capillary gas chromatography with flame ionization or electron-capture detection. Methodology is also presented for the isolation and mass spectral analysis of numerous trace-level coca alkaloids of unknown structure.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis*
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods*
  • Coca / chemistry*
  • Electrons
  • Flame Ionization
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Alkaloids