Analyzing Amines by Ion Chromatography

Using ion-exchange chromatography with suppressed conductivity for amine analyses

Amines are derivatives of ammonia in which one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced by an alkyl or aryl group. The breakdown of amino acids releases amines, as in the case of decaying fish, which smell of trimethylamine (structure left). In the human body, amines can be found in neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine. In nuclear power plants, morpholine and ethanolamine are amines used to minimize corrosion.

Amine analysis

Ion-exchange chromatography with suppressed conductivity detection is a well-established method to determine μg/L to mg/L concentrations of common cations and amines. Thermo Scientific™ Reagent-Free™ Ion Chromatography (RFIC™) systems with eluent generation provide consistent separation of the analytes of interest by electrolytically generating precise and accurate eluents inline.

Regulatory information

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration: Methylamine is a List 1 Regulated Chemical due to its use in production of methamphetamine. There is little information concerning its effect on human or animal health, but its median lethal dose in a mouse is reported to be 2.5g/kg.
  • A number of semiconductor manufacturers include specifications for maximum allowable levels of less than 1 ppb (μg/L) for trimethylamine and related amines. Maximum allowable contaminate levels for semiconductor-grade hydrogen peroxide can be as low as less than 100 ppt (ng/L) per individual inorganic cation.

Example application notes