Hollow fibre liquid-phase microextraction with in situ derivatization using dansyl chloride has been successfully developed for the high-performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) determination of the biogenic amines (tryptamine, putrescine, cadaverine, histamine, tyramine, spermidine) in food samples. Parameters affecting the performance of the in situ derivatization process such as type of extraction solvent, temperature, extraction time, stirring speed and salt addition were studied and optimized. Under the optimized conditions (extraction solvent, dihexyl ether; acceptor phase, 0.1M HCl; extraction time, 30 min; extraction temperature, 26 degrees C; without addition of salt), enrichment factors varying from 47 to 456 were achieved. Good linearity of the analytes was obtained over a concentration range of 0.1-5 microg mL(-1) (with correlation coefficients of 0.9901-0.9974). The limits of detection and quantification based on a signal-to-noise ratio of 3-10, ranged from 0.0075 to 0.030 microg mL(-1) and 0.03 to 0.10 microg mL(-1), respectively. The relative standard deviations based on the peak areas for six replicate analysis of water spiked with 0.5 microg mL(-1) of each biogenic amine were lower than 7.5%. The method was successfully applied to shrimp sauce and tomato ketchup samples, offering an interesting alternative to liquid-liquid extraction and solid phase extraction for the analysis of biogenic amines in food samples.