Introduction

The compounds of nitrogen are of great importance in water resources, in the atmosphere and in the life processes of all plants and animals. The chemistry of nitrogen is complex because of the several oxidation states exhibited by nitrogen and due to the fact that changes in oxidation state can be brought about by the living organisms. Environmental issues and global environmental changes are generating an increasing amount of attention worldwide. The occurrence and determination of nitrogen compounds in all oxidation states have received a great deal of attention in recent years. These compounds occur in a number of ambient environments, such as, air, water, soil and foods, and are sources of serious social and hygienic products. Their monitoring in various environments is important to preserve human health because these compounds have toxic effects.

Aliphatic and aromatic mono-, di-, and poly-amines are naturally occurring compounds formed as metabolic products in microorganisms, plants, and animals, in which the principal routes of amine formation include the decarboxylation of amino acids, amination of carbonyl compounds and degradation of nitrogen containing compounds. They are discharged into the atmosphere and water from anthropogenic sources such as cattle feeds and livestock buildings, waste incineration, sewage treatment, automobile exhausts, cigarette smoke, and various industries. Presumably, a natural background level of amines also exists originating from animal waste and microbiological activities. Some amines are also suspected to be allergenic, mutagenic, or carcinogenic substances owing to their tendency for adsorption in tissues. Amines are not only toxic themselves but can also become toxic nitrosamines through chemical reactions with nitrosating agents such as, nitrite or nitrate. Recent developments in environmental carcinogenesis have demonstrated that Af-nitrosamines are potentially carcinogenic substances leading to a wide variety of tumors in many animals. Biogenic amines including catecholamines and indoleamines play a number of important functions in the peripheral and central nervous system. Levels of biogenic amines and their metabolites in tissues or biological fluids have been widely investigated for a variety of physiological and disease states in neurology and physiology of mental illness and neurological disorders. Therefore for clinical diagnosis or prognosis, and for basic research purposes, it is necessary to determine concomitant levels of biogenic amines such as serotonin, catecholamines and their metabolites in tissues and biological fluids. Many analytical techniques such as radiochemistry, gas chromatography (GC), spectroscopic and HPLC techniques have been developed for the determination of amines, biogenic amines, their precursors, and metabolites.

The degree of environmental pollution is increasing with rapid industrial and economic growth. Anthropogenic and naturally supplied nitrogen is a key factor controlling primary production in AMimited environmental waters. Analysis of gas mixtures containing nitrogen, oxides of nitrogen ammonia has been undertaken by many chromatographic techniques providing the complete data with high sensitivity and reliability.

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