Alkylamines (also referred to as aliphatic amines) belong to the group of surface-active compounds. Generally, they are derived from fatty acid. Amines can be primary, secondary or tertiary, depending on the number of hydrogen atoms that are replaced by additional alkyls. Substances that, for example, contain two or three amine groups are called "diamines" or "triamines". Due to their characteristics (microbiological activity, material compatibility, cleaning power, and foaming characteristics) amines are used for surface and instrument disinfection, as wetting agent, emulsifier or detergent, as well as in pharmaceutics and colourants.