Amines are nitrogenous organic compounds theoretically derived from ammonia (NH3) by replacing one, two or three hydrogens with alkyl or aryl groups. Examples:
There are some types of amines according to the number of hydrogen substituting radicals.
- primary amines: a hydrogen substituted by an organic radical.
- secondary amines: two hydrogens replaced by organic radicals.
- tertiary amines: three hydrogens replaced by organic radicals.
The amines are very present in our daily lives. They are present in the amino acids that make up the proteins of living things.
From these substances follows the presence of amines in the decomposition of dead animals:
Trimethylamine is an amine that is part of the strong smell of rotten fish.
Putrescine and cadaverine are formed in the decomposition of human corpses.
In industry, they are used as dyes in some soaps and various organic syntheses. The best known dye is aniline. It is a colorless oil with aromatic odor.
Some amines are used as sunscreen, such as p-aminobenzoic acid. It is also known as PABA.