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Nitrosamines are molecules which contain a nitroso functional group

Nitrosamines are molecules which contain a nitroso functional group

28 Jun 2020

Nitrosamines are molecules which contain a nitroso functional group.


Recently the study of nitrosamines has become relevant because its impurities are classified as potentially carcinogenic products for humans.


They can be present in some food[1], tap water[2] and drugs, making nitrosamine control and detection relevant. For this reason, many companies have started analyzing for this type of compound as a previous step to its elimination.


In general, nitrosamines are formed when secondary or tertiary amines react with nitrous acid, which is normally formed in acid media in presence of nitrites.


Regarding medications, nitrosamines can also be formed during synthesis due to the presence of amines and nitrites in raw materials, reagents and solvents.


For this matter, specific control of this type of compounds is taking place in the pharmaceutical industry:

Specifically, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrosodiethylamine(NDEA), although there are also other forms with structural similarity that could have a similar toxicological profile: N-nitrosoethylisopropylamine (NEIPA), N-nitrosodiisopropylamine (NDIPA) and N-nitroso-N-methyl-4-aminobutyric (NMBA).


According to the World Health Organization the allowable daily intake limits are 96ng/day for NDMA and NMBA, while for NDEA, NDIPA and NEIPA the limit is 26.5ng/day.


In this section we have collected the most common nitrosamine impurities in our website in order to facilitate identifying them in the laboratory.


Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any additional information.

[1] - RICHARDSON, S., PLEWA, M., WAGNER, E., SCHOENY, R., & DEMARINI, D. (2007). Occurrence, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products in drinking water: A review and roadmap for research. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, 636(1-3), 178-242.


[2] - Tricker, A. R., & Preussmann, R. (1991). Carcinogenic N-nitrosamines in the diet: occurrence, formation, mechanisms and carcinogenic potential. Mutation Research/Genetic

Toxicology, 259(3-4), 277–289.

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