Facilitated diffusion of acetonitrile revealed by quantitative breath analysis using extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Ming Li, Jianhua Ding, Haiwei Gu, Yan Zhang, Susu Pan, Ning Xu, Huanwen Chen, Hongmei Li

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By using silver cations (Ag+) as the ionic reagent in reactive extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (EESI-MS), the concentrations of acetonitrile in exhaled breath samples from the volunteers including active smokers, passive smokers, and non-smokers were quantitatively measured in vivo, without any sample pretreatment. A limit of detection (LOD) and relative standard deviation (RSD) were 0.16 ng/L and 3.5% (n = 8), respectively, for the acetonitrile signals in MS/MS experiments. Interestingly, the concentrations of acetonitrile in human breath continuously increased for 1-4 hours after the smoker finished smoking and then slowly decreased to the background level in 7 days. The experimental data of a large number of (> 165) samples indicated that the inhaled acetonitrile is excreted most likely by facilitated diffusion, instead of simple diffusion reported previously for other volatile compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1205
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Feb 18 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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