In this study the separation of eight biogenic amines (cadaverine, serotonin, histamine, spermidine, spermine, tyramine, putrescine and -phenylethylamine) by an LC method with evaporative light scattering detection (ELSD) was performed. The LC-ELSD method was validated by comparison of the results with those obtained through LC-UV determination, based on a pre-column dansyl chloride derivatisation step and the recorded data showed as both analytical methods can be interchangeably used for biogenic amines determination. LC–ELSD methodology showed good precision and permitted to achieve, for standard solutions, limits of detection (LOD) ranging from 0.01 to 0.02 g mL−1 and limits of quantitation (LOQ) ranging from 0.03 to 0.05 g mL−1. The whole methodology, comprehensive of the homogenization-extraction process and LC–ELSD analysis, has been applied in the analysis of several samples of fair trade cocoa-derivatives. The most abundant amine found was histamine for a total amount of biogenic amines in the range 5.81-38.82 g g−1. The highest amounts of BAs were found in the most processed products but never representing a possible risk for consumer health, according to the toxicity levels reported in literature and regarded as acceptable.
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