Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Determination of aromatic amines in human urine using comprehensive multi-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCxGC-qMS).

PMID 25142049


Aromatic amines are an important class of harmful components of cigarette smoke. Nevertheless, only few of them have been reported to occur in urine, which raises questions on the fate of these compounds in the human body. Here we report on the results of a new analytical method, in situ derivatization solid phase microextraction (SPME) multi-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCxGC-qMS), that allows for a comprehensive fingerprint analysis of the substance class in complex matrices. Due to the high polarity of amino compounds, the complex urine matrix and prevalence of conjugated anilines, pretreatment steps such as acidic hydrolysis, liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), and derivatization of amines to their corresponding aromatic iodine compounds are necessary. Prior to detection, the derivatives were enriched by headspace SPME with the extraction efficiency of the SPME fiber ranging between 65 % and 85 %. The measurements were carried out in full scan mode with conservatively estimated limits of detection (LOD) in the range of several ng/L and relative standard deviation (RSD) less than 20 %. More than 150 aromatic amines have been identified in the urine of a smoking person, including alkylated and halogenated amines as well as substituted naphthylamines. Also in the urine of a non-smoker, a number of aromatic amines have been identified, which suggests that the detection of biomarkers in urine samples using a more comprehensive analysis as detailed in this report may be essential to complement the approach of the use of classic biomarkers.