Determination of inorganic elements in poppy straw by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry as a means of ascertaining origin.

Bulletin on narcotics

PubMedID: 21338021

Copur E, Göger NG, Orbey T, Sener B. Determination of inorganic elements in poppy straw by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry as a means of ascertaining origin. Bull Narc. 2005;.
Cultivation of poppy as a source of opium alkaloids for legitimate medical purposes has a long tradition in Turkey. The main products are poppy straw and concentrate of poppy straw, obtained from dried poppy capsules. The aims of the study reported in the present article were to establish inorganic element profiles for the poppy-growing provinces of Turkey by means of x-ray analysis by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS) and to explore the potential of the technique for determination of origin. Ten elements (sodium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, potassium, calcium, copper and zinc) were analysed in poppy straw samples from 67 towns in nine provinces. As regards the determination of origin, the most significant finding was the presence of copper and zinc in the poppy straw samples from 8 of the 15 towns in Afyon Province. Since those elements are not normally found in soil, it is assumed that their presence is the result of environmental (industrial) contamination. Differences in the samples from the other eight provinces were less significant, possibly a result of their geographical proximity. Nevertheless, differences in the samples were apparent. Because the findings are relative rather than absolute in terms of presence or absence of individual inorganic elements, further research is required to convert them into operationally usable results. The inorganic element profiles generated in the study have been used to form the basis for the development of a comprehensive database on poppy straw samples, which may be used in comparing samples and determining their origin.