Qualitative Identification of Cocaine

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In terms of gross morphology, characteristically, coca leaf has two lines which run parallel to the mid-rib on the underside of the leaf. Taxonomically, however, it is difficult to identify leaf and plant material to species on the basis of morphology (leaf and flower structure) alone and indeed hybridization between species is common [5]. In order to establish that the material comes from the genus Erythroxylon and contains controlled substances, it is therefore necessary to demonstrate the presence of cocaine. In bulk (those which can be seen by the naked eye) samples, this is achieved through a good physical description of the materials and packaging, followed by a combination of presumptive tests, TLC and a tandem technique, usually GC-MS.

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