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J AOAC Int. 2010 Sep-Oct;93(5):1542-52.

Determination of quaternary ammonium compounds by potentiometric titration with an ionic surfactant electrode: single-laboratory validation.

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University of Florida, Department of Chemistry, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


A potentiometric titration for determining the quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) commonly found in antimicrobial products was validated by a single laboratory. Traditionally, QACs were determined by using a biphasic (chloroform and water) manual titration procedure. Because of safety considerations regarding chloroform, as well as the subjectivity of color indicator-based manual titration determinations, an automatic potentiometric titration procedure was tested with quaternary nitrogen product formulations. By using the Metrohm Titrando system coupled with an ionic surfactant electrode and an Ag/AgCl reference electrode, titrations were performed with various QAC-containing formulation products/matrixes; a standard sodium lauryl sulfate solution was used as the titrant. Results for the products tested are sufficiently reproducible and accurate for the purpose of regulatory product enforcement. The robustness of the method was measured by varying pH levels, as well as by comparing buffered versus unbuffered titration systems. A quantitation range of 1-1000 ppm quaternary nitrogen was established. Eight commercially available antimicrobial products covering a variety of matrixes were assayed; the results obtained were comparable to those obtained by the manual titration method. Recoveries of 94 to 104% were obtained for spiked samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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