Analysis of phenolic compounds in industrial wastewater with high-performance liquid chromatography and post-column reaction detection

O. Fiehn, M. Jekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


A new method is presented for the characterization of phenols after reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic (RP-HPLC) separation, even in highly complex matrices. Phenols can be detected at a wavelength of 500 nm, immediately after the addition of N-methylbenzothiazole-2-hydrazone and Ce(NH4),(SO4)3 in a strongly acidic medium, without heating or the use of a reaction coil. Visible spectra and intensities were independent of the water content using typical HPLC eluents. Thirty common hydroxyaromatic compounds were investigated, covering a wide range of substituents. Nearly all phenols showed their maximum absorbance around 500 nm. Limits of detection were between 1 and 20 ng injected onto the column, except for nitrophenols. Aldehydes do not react under these conditions. Under neutral to basic conditions, interferences of thiophenols can be completely abolished. Aromatic amines show strong hypsochromic shifts and decreases in absorption intensity. Using this method, more than 100 different hydroxyaromatic compounds could be detected in heavily loaded tannery wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 9 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • Derivatization, LC
  • Environmental analysis
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Water analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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