A novel one-step headspace (HS) dynamic in-syringe (DIS) based liquid-phase derivatization–extraction (LPDE) technique has been developed for the selective determination of two short-chain aliphatic amines (SCAAs) in aqueous samples using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection (FLD). Methylamine (MA) and dimethylamine (DMA) were selected as model compounds of SCAAs. In this method, a micro-syringe pre-filled with derivatizing reagent solution (9-fluorenylmethyl chloroformate) in the barrel was applied to achieve the simultaneous derivatization and extraction of two methylamines evolved from alkalized aqueous samples through the automated reciprocated movements of syringe plunger. After the derivatization–extraction process, the derivatized phase was directly injected into HPLC-FLD for analysis. Parameters influencing the evolution of methylamines and the HS-DIS-LPDE efficiency, including sample pH and temperature, sampling time, as well as the composition of derivatization reagent, reaction temperature, and frequency of reciprocated plunger movements, were thoroughly examined and optimized. Under optimal conditions, detections were linear in the range of 25–500 μg L−1 for MA and DMA with correlation coefficients all above 0.995. The limits of detection (based on S/N = 3) were 5 and 19 ng mL−1 for MA and DMA, respectively. The applicability of the developed method was demonstrated for the determination of MA and DMA in real water samples without any prior cleanup of the sample. The present method provides a simple, selective, automated, low cost and eco-friendly procedure to determine aliphatic amines in aqueous samples
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