Alkyl and aromatic nitrates in atmospheric particles determined by gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

  • Xinhao Yang
  • Feixian Luo
  • Junqi Li
  • Deyang Chen
  • Ye E.
  • Weili Lin
  • Jun JinEmail author
Research Article


Organic nitrates in the atmosphere are associated with photochemical pollution and are the main components of secondary organic aerosols, which are related to haze. An efficient method for determining organic nitrates in atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5) was established using synthesized standards. Four alkyl (C7–C10) nitrates and three aromatic nitrates (tolyl nitrate, phenethyl nitrate, and p-xylyl nitrate) were synthesized and characterized by 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The optimal ions for quantifying and confirming the identities of the analytes were identified by analyzing the standards by gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. The tandem mass spectrometer was a triple quadrupole instrument. This method can obtain more accurate information of organic nitrates than on-line methods. Spiked recovery tests were performed using three spike concentrations, and the recoveries were 61.0–111.4 %, and the relative standard deviations were < 8.2% for all of the analytes. Limits of detection and quantification were determined, and the linearity of the method for each analyte was assessed. The applicability of the method was demonstrated by analyzing six PM2.5 samples. Overall, 87% of the analytes were detected in the samples. Phenethyl nitrate, heptyl nitrate, and octyl nitrate were detected in every sample. Phenethyl nitrate was found at a higher mean concentration (3.23 ng/m3) than the other analytes.


Organic nitrates PM2.5 Synthesis GC-MS/MS 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant no. 91744206] and the Beijing Science and Technology Planning Project [grant no. Z181100005418016]. We also thank Dr. Gareth Thomas for his help in grammatical editing of this paper.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 457 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinhao Yang
    • 1
  • Feixian Luo
    • 1
  • Junqi Li
    • 1
  • Deyang Chen
    • 1
  • Ye E.
    • 1
  • Weili Lin
    • 1
  • Jun Jin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Life and Environmental SciencesMinzu University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center of Food Environment and Public HealthBeijingChina

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