A new method for the rapid determination of 7-hydroxycoumarin, the predominant metabolite of coumarin in humans, was developed for analysis in urine and serum, based on separation by capillary electrophoresis, with UV detection at 210 nm. The linear detection range for 7-hydroxycoumarin was 0-50 micrograms/ml while the limit of quantitation was 1 microgram/ml. An internal standard, 3-(alpha-acetonylbenzyl)-4-hydroxycoumarin, was utilised for the determination of free 7-hydroxycoumarin, but it was found not to be suitable in the analysis of total 7-hydroxycoumarin present. Urine from two volunteers, who had been administered coumarin, was analysed by both capillary electrophoresis and by HPLC. The results from the two methods were compared and contrasted. The CE method was found to decrease the analysis time in comparison to HPLC analysis, with results available after 1.5 min as compared to 12 min with HPLC. There was no statistical difference between the results determined by either method.
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