Liquid chromatographic method for toxic biogenic amines in foods using a chaotropic salt

J Chromatogr A. 2015 Aug 7:1406:331-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2015.06.048. Epub 2015 Jun 23.


Direct separation of biogenic amines by reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) is not an easy task because their basic and hydrophilic characteristics can lead to poor retention, column overloading, peak tailing, and hence low efficiency. Rather than routinely resorting to derivatization or using classical hydrophobic ion-pair reagents (IPR), this work proposes a new RPLC method making use of the chaotropic salt KPF6 as inorganic additive to an acidic acetonitrilic eluent to remedy the difficulties. Amine retention, overload behavior, peak shape, and column efficiency were significantly improved. The use of excess KPF6 led to a very slight decrease of amine retention. Depending on amine, the dependence of the logarithmic retention factor on the volume percent of acetonitrile could be reasonably linear or quite convex. Coupled with UV detection, the method was applied to trace analysis for six biogenic, aromatic or heterocyclic amines in three types of food after a sample cleanup, as necessary, by ion-pair extraction. The reliability of the whole analysis was demonstrated to be satisfactory. The proposed method outperforms existing methods in that it eliminates the need for long and cumbersome derivatization procedures without losing sensitivity; it also represents a good surrogate for classical ion-pair chromatography (IPC) because of the desirable hydrophilicity of chaotropic salts.

Keywords: Biogenic amine; Chaotropic salt; Food analysis; Ion-pair reagent; Retention behavior; Reversed-phase chromatography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biogenic Amines / analysis*
  • Chromatography, Liquid*
  • Food Analysis / instrumentation
  • Food Analysis / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Salts / chemistry*


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Salts