Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Jeffrey Bada
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_415-2


Derivatization is the process by which an organic compound is reacted with a reagent, or reagents, to yield products suitable for analyses by various techniques. In many cases, the products are either a volatile adduct suitable for analysis by gas chromatography (GC) or a highly fluorescent product that can be separated by liquid chromatography and detected at very low levels (parts per billion) by its characteristic fluorescence at an optimal excitation wavelength. In the case of carboxylic acids, the reagents are usually alcohols in the presence of catalysts that convert the original molecules into esters for GC analyses. For the GC determination of amino acids, alcohols in the presence of catalysts are used to first convert the carboxyl groups to esters and reagents such as trifluoroacetic anhydride then used to add components to the primary amino groups to prevent their ionization. For the fluorescent analyses of amino acids, several reagents, such as fluorescamine or ortho...


Liquid Chromatography Organic Compound Carboxylic Acid Bioorganic Chemistry Excitation Wavelength 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA