Ehrlich's reagent

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p-DMAB: the active ingredient in Ehrlich's reagent

Ehrlich's reagent, also known as the "DMAB test", is a chemical test to presumptively identify indoles. It is primarily used as a simple spot-test to identify possible psychoactive compounds such as tryptamines (e.g. DMT) and ergoloids (e.g. LSD). The reagent will also give a positive result for opium, despite the active alkaloids (opiates) not containing the indole moiety, because of the presence in opium of tryptophan.[1]

The reagent is prepared by dissolving 0.5[2]-2.0 g of p–dimethylaminobenzaldehyde (DMAB) in 50 mL of 95% ethanol and 50 mL of concentrated hydrochloric acid[3][4] and is best used when fresh.

Other alcohols such as 1-Propanol can also be used to prepare the ehrlich reagent.[5]

The ehrlich reagent is similar to a number of other indole tests:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b de Faubert Maunder, MJ. "Field and laboratory test for raw and prepared opium.". Bulletin on narcotics 27 (1): 71–6. PMID 1039285. 
  2. ^ Spratley, Trinette (2004). "Analytical Profiles for Five "Designer" Tryptamines" (PDF). Microgram Journal 3 (1-2): 55. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  3. ^ O’Neal, Carol L; Crouch, Dennis J; Fatah, Alim A (April 2000). "Validation of twelve chemical spot tests for the detection of drugs of abuse". Forensic Science International 109 (3): 189–201. doi:10.1016/S0379-0738(99)00235-2. 
  4. ^ "Color Test Reagents/Kits for Preliminary Identification of Drugs of Abuse" (PDF). Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program. July 2000. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  5. ^ 02 July 2014. "Ehrlich's Reagent Safety Data Sheet" (PDF). Labchem. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Ehmann, A. (1977). "The van URK-Salkowski reagent — a sensitive and specific chromogenic reagent for silica gel thin-layer chromatographic detection and identification of indole derivatives" (PDF). Journal of Chromatography A 132 (2): 267–201. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(00)89300-0.  edit
  7. ^ Maunder, M. J. de Faubert (August 1974). "A field test for hallucinogens: further improvements". Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 26 (8): 637–638. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7158.1974.tb10677.x. 

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