APAAN, also called alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile. In English it is alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile, it is an organic compound that is used in the preparation of certain medications. APAAN contains a nitrile group and a benzene ring (phenyl group). The CAS number: 4468-48-8.

Alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile: a new precursor substance for the illicit production of

Keywords :
alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile; amphetamine; clandestine laboratories; impurity profiling; precursor

NSC 11777
NSC 25183
NSC 55206

Alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile has become an important precursor substance for the illicit synthesis of amphetamine and its importance is increasing further.

APAAN has been observed in seizures in the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. One of the reasons for the increasing importance of APAAN is that the conversion into benzylmethyl ketone (BMK) can be done very easily by using a simple production method, which achieves high yields.

The conversion of APAAN into BMK is predominantly carried out in laboratories located in the Netherlands and Poland. Although it is widely used for the illicit production of BMK, from a forensic point of view there is still a lack of knowledge about APAAN, its purity, the different conversion processes, yields and impurities characteristic of BMK.

Α-Phenylacetoacetonitrile (APAAN) is one of the most important precursors for the production of amphetamines in recent years.

This assumption is based on seizure data, but there is little analytical data available that shows how much amphetamine actually originated from APAAN. In this study, several amphetamine syntheses were performed following the Leuckart route from different organic compounds, including APAAN.

The organic phases were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to look for signals caused by possible APAAN markers. Three compounds were discovered, isolated and, according to the syntheses made, were found to be highly specific for the use of APAAN.

Using mass spectra, high resolution MS data and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), the compounds were characterized and identified as 2-phenyl-2-butenonitrile, 3-amino-2-phenyl-2-butenonitrile and 4-amino- 6-methyl-5-phenylpyrimidine. To investigate its importance, we searched the data of seized amphetamine samples to determine to what extent they were present in the illicitly produced amphetamine. Data from more than 580 cases of amphetamine profile databases in Germany and the Netherlands were used for this purpose.


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