Agilent Technologies Announces Highly Sensitive Method for Analyzing Herbicide Amitrol in Water

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 6, 2004 — Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced a highly sensitive method available for characterizing amitrol in water at detection levels well below the European Commission advisory level of 0.1 ug/L.

Amitrol is used both as an herbicide and photographic chemical. A suspected carcinogen, it has been cited as a hazardous substance by the EPA and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Sub-parts-per-billion analysis of amitrol in water raises two challenges: Amitrol’s low molecular weight does not produce a specific, recognizable ion in mass spectrometry, and this highly soluble compound is difficult to recover in a water sample. Both challenges can be solved by in situ derivatization with hexylchloroformate.

Agilent chemists used this derivatization technique, solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography/mass selective detection to analyze amitrol with minimum sample preparation. The scientists performed the analysis on an Agilent 1100 Series LC/MSD system operated in atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mode with selective ion monitoring and large volume injection (100 uL). This method characterized amitrol at the ppb level (0.02 ug/L). The repeatability of the analysis was verified by quantifying six standard solutions (50 mL each) at 0.05 ppb amitrol and 0.5 ppb internal standard. The complete derivatization and extraction procedure gave a relative standard deviation of just 6.5 percent.

Further information is available by requesting Agilent application note “Determination of Ultratrace Amitrol in Water Samples by in situ Derivatization –Solid Phase Extraction — Liquid Chromatography — Mass Selective Detector,” publication 5989-0184EN. This note is available without charge from any Agilent sales office or on Agilent’s Web site at

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 29,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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US CONTACT: Victor Truong, Agilent

+1 408 553 7113

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CANADA CONTACTS: Lindsay Love, Agilent Technologies

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Lorie Spence, Weber Shandwick

+1 416 964 6444

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