Liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS) is one of the most prominent analytical techniques owing to its inherent selectivity and sensitivity. In LC/ESI-MS/MS, chemical derivatization is often used to enhance the detection sensitivity. Derivatization improves the chromatographic separation, and enhances the mass spectrometric ionization efficiency and MS/MS detectability. In this review, an overview of the derivatization reagents which have been applied to LC/ESI-MS/MS is presented, focusing on the applications to low molecular weight compounds. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.