Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Marta Concheiro-Guisan

Second Reader

Shu-Yuan Cheng

Third Advisor

Elise Lauterbur


Cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the monovalent groups of carbon and nitrogen. This substance is considered a rapidly acting deadly chemical. However, some animals such as lemurs consume food products that are known to contain elevated levels of cyanide without major consequences. The mechanism by which the lemur can handle this high exposure to cyanide is unknown. In this study, we developed and validated two analytical methods for the determination of cyanide and two metabolites, thiocyanate and 2-aminothiazoline-4-carboxylic acid (ATCA) in lemur urine. The method was applied to 47 authentic lemur urine samples collected from 4 different species of lemurs in Madagascar and 20 authentic lemur urine samples from captive lemur. The cyanide and thiocyanate procedure involved a derivatization technique followed by a liquid-liquid extraction, the ATCA procedure involved and solid phase extraction followed by a derivatization step before analysis. Of all the samples tested, the concentration range that was discovered for cyanide was 0- to greater than 200 µg/mL, the range for thiocyanate (major metabolite) was 0- to greater than 200 µg/mL. The method had an accuracy of 89-99% accuracy with a 18% imprecision for cyanide and 81-108 % accuracy and an imprecision of 27% for thiocyanate. ATCA (minor metabolite) had a concentration range from 126.6 ng/mL- to over 4000 ng/mL with a 105-114% accuracy and 4.87% imprecision. These analytical results along with genetic information will be employed in future research to investigate the pathway of cyanide metabolism in lemur.



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