A high-performance liquid chromatography method in which fluorescence detection is used for the simultaneous determination of 21 amino acids is proposed. Amino acids were derivatized with 4-fluoro-7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole (NBD-F) and then separated on a monolithic silica column (MonoClad C18-HS, 150 mm×3 mm i.d.). A mixture of 25 mM citrate buffer containing 25 mM sodium perchlorate (pH 5.5) and acetonitrile was used as the mobile phase. We found that the most significant factor in the separation was temperature, and a linear temperature gradient from 30 to 49°C was used to control the column temperature. The limits of detection and quantification for all amino acids ranged from 3.2 to 57.2 fmol and 10.8 to 191 fmol, respectively. The calibration curves for the NBD-amino acid had good linearity within the range of 40 fmol to 40 pmol when 6-aminocaproic acid was used as an internal standard. Using only conventional instruments, the 21 amino acids could be analyzed within 10 min. This method was found to be suitable for the quantification of the contents of amino acids in mouse plasma and adrenal gland samples.
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