Corinna Brung <! –-> focuses on the image of indefinable colorful dots of the layman on the screen. What is the "timsTOF Pro", the new mass spectrometer of the laboratory of the Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry of the University of Münster <! –-> has just been analyzed by laser scanning, it is a piece of tattooed skin.
The doctors surgically removed the skin of a patient for whom the tattoo has become a painful burden. Allergies and inflammation are sometimes the unwanted side effects of tattoos – and with the university laboratory device, one of the two world prototypes, it is possible to decode individual substances and chemical compounds of the tattoo ink.
Allergy by tattoo
"Pigment Green 7" is now on the screen, and pharmacist Corinna Brungs, who is preparing her doctorate on tattoo inks, nods: "It's a banned substance in Germany ". In the same sample from a dermatology clinic in Amsterdam, allergenic nickel can also be found in the tattoo that has made its wearer tease.
In the analysis of substances injected under the skin of customers in tattoo parlors, the science is still relatively in its infancy. The legal rules are "relatively chaotic" says Uwe Karst <! –->, professor of analytical chemistry. According to him, there is now a negative list of substances that can cause abnormal skin reactions.
Car paint us wall paint
Basically, it happens "rather with red than black," says Brungs. The pigments used for tattoos are products specific to the technical industry: "car paint and wall paints," explains Karst. Through intermediaries, they reached the local studios, mainly via Chinese tattoo ink producers, via the Internet. The "undead red", that is to say the very resistant red, is one of these common colors. What is it, but there is no guidance, says Karst. With the methods of analysis, as they are studied in the university laboratory, it is possible to obtain more clarity in this area.
Analytical chemistry deals with the search for objects. "The knowledge on this subject is becoming more and more complex," says Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Karst – and more and more questions arise. There are thousands of chemical compounds in every object. To decrypt them, requests for analysis become more and more demanding. With the new mass spectrometer, which examines the objects to be laser tested, the analytical possibilities of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry have taken on a new dimension.
Arne Behrens, a young chemist who is also preparing his PhD, uses the mass spectrometer to study cannabis leaves. The laser test makes it easy to determine if it is cannabis containing high concentrations of terrahydrocannabinol (THC), probably from illicit drug trafficking. Cannabis for medical and industrial use contains a higher proportion of non-psychoactive cannabidiol. The process can provide valuable assistance to drug law enforcement authorities, Karst said.