The free primary amines present in the faeces of 44 infants (1-18 months) with gastroenteritis have been examined by field desorption mass spectrometry of the lactone form of their fluorescamine derivatives without their prior separation. p-Tyramine, 2-phenylethylamine, the diamines, putrescine and cadaverine and several of their acyl derivatives were common constituents, but a number of other amines were also characterised. Using thin layer chromatography and field desorption mass spectrometry of the amine dansyl derivatives a comparative study was made of the faecal amines of 13 selected infants with gastroenteritis (diarrhoea) and of 13 healthy infants. p-Tyramine, the most abundant amine, was significantly higher (p = 0.02) in the sick infants. The overall presence of p-tyramine was more significantly related to the diet of the infants. Faecal tyramine was low in breast fed infants but significantly higher (p = 0.01) in infants fed cow's milk.
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