The applications of various pre-column derivatization reactions are presented in this review. The reactions are particularly applicable for various detection techniques [ultraviolet (UV), fluorescence, chemiluminscence, enantiomeric determination and mass spectrometry (MS)] in liquid chromatographic analysis of drugs and related compounds in various matrices. This review discovered that an improvement in reaction conditions, reagent suitability and detection limits have evolved over the last 60 years. The challenge however, still remains in ensuring that a particular pre-column derivatization step satisfies the requirement of high sensitivity, short reaction time, short work-up procedures and in particular selectivity for the drug(s) of interest. The evolution of high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) as an emerging technique in derivatization is discussed.
Key words: Tandem mass spectrometry, ultraviolet, pre-column derivatization, liquid chromatography
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