Research Highlight

Steroid detector

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.141 Published online 25 May 2009

Researchers have invented a fullerene-modified electrode that detects traces of nandrolone, an anabolic steroid commercially known as deca-durabolin in biological samples. The steroid is used in doping by sportspersons1. The fullerene-based electrode will be helpful in determining nandrolone in commercial drug samples as well as in urine and blood samples of errant athletes.

Though nandrolone is banned in sports, clinically it is used in treating anemia, cancer, rebuilding of muscle after debilitating disease and osteoporosis. Given its clinical importance and increased abuse in sports, a suitable method is needed to detect nandrolone.

The researchers prepared five different working electrodes including fullerene modified gold and basal plane pyrolytic graphite electrode (BPPGE), glassy carbon electrode (GCE), indium tin oxide (ITO), gold and edge plane pyrolytic graphite electrode (EPPGE). They exposed the electrodes to nandrolone solution and passed current.

Of all the electrodes, EPPGE showed a strong tendency to adsorb compounds and has a large potential window. "The method can be applied for determination of cases of doping in urine and blood samples and the time consuming removal of embedded metal impurities in fullerene is not necessary," says lead researcher Rajendra N. Goyal from the department of chemistry of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.


  1. Goyal, N. R. et al. Effect of substrate and embedded metallic impurities of fullerene in the determination of nandrolone. Anal Chim Acta. 643, 95-99 (2009) | Article |