Abstract An automated liquid chromatographic method for assaying vanilmandelic acid in urine is described. Vanilmandelic acid and potential interfering substances, such as catechol compounds and their metabolites, have been tested for affinity to boronic acid-substituted silica at various pH values. Vanilmandelic acid and the internal standard, isovanilmandelic acid, were bound to the boronate matrix at an acidic pH, whereas for instance catecholamines were unretained and passed through the column. The α-hydroxycarboxylic acids were then desorbed by another mobile phase (pH 6.0) and transferred to an anion exchanger for chromatography and electrochemical detection. A relative standard deviation of 2.8% was obtained for the analysis of human urine samples containing 6.6 μ M vanilmandelic acid.