Daniel Siebert TLC results for fake kratom
20th March 2003
Today I did thin layer chromatography of several samples of kratom and mitragynine. Jon Hanna provided me with reference samples of mitragynine picrate and mitragynine ethane disulphonate, both of which had originally been obtained from specialty chemical suppliers. Both reacted with Erlich's reagent to produce pale purple spots on my TLC plates. Neither of these compounds are entirely pure. The TLC profiles of both samples were almost identical. Both produced two matching spots: one prominent spot (presumably mitragynine ) and one smaller spot. The mitragynine ethane disulphonate also produced a third spot that was smaller than the other two. I was also able to visualize the compounds using UV light. The larger spot absorbs short wave UV light. The smaller spots fluoresce bright yellow under long wave UV light. Apparently mitragynine is reasonably stable, since the profile of the fourteen year old mitragynine ethane disulphonate was not substantially different than that of the recently procured mitragynine picrate.
I also examined "kratom acetate" sold by Ethnogarden and leaves sent to me from France by Bruno. These leaves are allegedly from Myanmar (Burma). The "kratom acetate" was supposedly isolated from leaves obtained from the same source. Neither of these produced any visible indole spots on the plates when sprayed with Erlich's reagent. And when exposed to UV light, there were no spots corresponding to those in the reference standards. It is very clear that these do not contain mitragynine. This is not particularly surprising since the morphology of the leaves indicates that they are not Mitragyna speciosa. I also analyzed leaves grown by Lee Rathbun, Torsten Wiedemann, and Jim Bauml. And also leaves obtained from Ben Kamm (he obtained these from Rob Montgomery who obtained them from Thailand) and some leaves from an "unknown source" that were sent to me by Will Beifuss (probably the same as the leaves from Ben Kamm). All of these produced spots that appear identical to the reference standards. In the case of the relatively fresh leaves obtained from Lee, Torsten, and Jim, a green chlorophyll spot largely obscures the mitragynine spot, making it difficult to see. I was not able to see this clearly until I examined the chromatograms under UV light and compared them with the reference standards.
That's all for now!
Regards, Daniel Siebert
The Salvia divinorum Research and Information Center http://sagewisdom.org
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