INTERNAL ONLY: This work has to be updated.


Histamine is a naturally occurring compound that is metabolized via histidine decarboxylase from the amino acid histidine (see Figure 1 for structure). Although it plays a wide variety of beneficial biochemical roles in the body, it is also the chemical released in allergic reactions involving sneezing, itching, migraines, and so on. Furthermore, ingestion of histamine-containing foods or beverages can produce these adverse effects in individuals with low amounts of the enzyme diamine oxidase, which breaks down histamine. This is referred to as histamine intolerance.
Due to the possibility of an adverse reaction for these individuals, manufacturers of food and beverages would prefer their products to be free of histamine. For example, some wine producers may market their wines as “histamine-free” and thereby potentially gain a competitive edge over other brands. However, often this conclusion is not based on actual quantitative analysis of histamine content, but rather on the observed absence of a reaction for histamine-intolerant individuals when they try these wines.
Part of the problem is that histamine is not readily analyzed by traditional analytical methods. Using conventional reversed phase HPLC for example, the compound is not easily retained due to its polar nature. Often a derivatization procedure is required, which complicates the analysis. Here we present a novel method for histamine analysis using the Cogent Diamond Hydride™ column. This unique stationary phase is able to operate in the Aqueous Normal Phase (ANP) mode, in which retention of analytes is based on polarity. In order to demonstrate the versatility of the column, a variety of food and beverage samples were investigated. These included wine, cheese, and tuna.
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