Modern liquid column chromatography (high-pressure liquid chromatography, HPLC) has evolved in the last few years into a highly efficient and versatile separation technique. The selectivity of an analytical process that depends upon a previous separation step can in many cases be increased considerably by chemical derivatizations after the separation. In addition, lower detection limits can be achieved in this way than in detection without derivatization. The physicochemical principles of these combined processes involving chromatographic separation and chemical derivatization prior to detection (coupling of HPLC and a reaction detector) are presented and discussed. The state of development is outlined, with a survey of the more important applications so far described in the literature.