Pentafluoropropionic Anhydride Derivatization and GC-MS Analysis of Histamine, Agmatine, Putrescine, and Spermidine: Effects of Solvents and Starting Column Temperature

Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is useful for the quantitative determination of the polyamines spermidine (SPD) and putrescine (PUT) and of the biogenic amine agmatine (AGM) in biological samples after derivatization. This GC-MS method involves a two-step extraction with n -butanol and hydrochloric acid, derivatization with pentafluoropropionic anhydride (PFPA) in ethyl acetate, and extraction of the pentafluoropropionic (PFP) derivatives by toluene of SPD, PUT, and AGM. We wanted to extend this GC-MS method for the biogenic amine histamine (HA), but we faced serious problems that did not allow reliable quantitative analysis of HA. In the present work, we addressed this issue and investigated the derivatization of HA and the effects of toluene and ethyl acetate, two commonly used water-insoluble organic solvents in GC-MS, and oven temperature program. Derivatization of unlabelled HA (d 0 -HA) and deuterium-labelled HA (d 4 -HA) with PFPA in ethyl acetate (PFPA-EA, 1:4, v / v ; 30 min, 65 °C) resulted in the formation of d 0 -HA-(PFP) 2 and d 4 -HA-(PFP) 2 derivatives. d 4 -HA and 13 C 4 -SPD were used as internal standards for the amines after standardization. Considerable quantitative effects of toluene and ethyl acetate were observed. The starting GC column temperature was also found to influence considerably the GC-MS analysis of HA. Our study shows the simultaneous quantitative analysis of HA as HA-(PFP) 2 , AGM as AGM-(PFP) 3 , PUT as PUT-(PFP) 2 , and SPD as SPD-(PFP) 3 derivatives requires the use of ethyl acetate for their extraction and injection into the GC-MS apparatus and a starting GC column temperature of 40 °C instead of 70 °C. The PFP derivatives of HA, AGM, PUT, and SPD were found to be stable in ethyl acetate for several hours at room temperature. Analytically satisfactory linearity, precision, and accuracy were observed for HA, AGM, PUT, and SPD in biologically relevant ranges (0 to 700 pmol). The limits of detection of AGM, PUT, and SPD were about two times lower in ethyl acetate compared to toluene (range, 1–22 fmol). The limits of detection were 1670 fmol for d 0 -HA and 557 fmol for d 4 -HA. Despite the improvements achieved in the study for HA, its analysis by GC-MS as a PFP derivative is challenging and less efficient than that of PUT, AGM, and SPD.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.

Access Statistic

Last 12 Month:


License Holder: © 2023 by the authors.

Use and reproduction: