A simple and sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method is proposed for the analysis of some carboxylic acids in food samples and the environment. The use of 9-chloromethyl anthracene as a fluorescence-labeling reagent has been investigated. The derivatization reagent reacts with unitary carboxylic acids and tetrabutylammonium bromide as a catalyst within 50 min in acetonitrile to give esters, which can be separated by HPLC employing fluorescence detection at λ(ex) = 365 and λ(em) = 410 nm. The optimum conditions for derivatization, fluorescence detection and chromatographic separation are established. The method shows good sensitivity, with a detection limit from 0.18 to 2.53 pmol, and good linearity between 1-250 nmol/mL of each analyte. The practical applicability of the method was demonstrated by analyzing samples that were spiked with the acid standards, environment and food samples.
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