The aqueous phase nitration of phenol and benzoic acid studied through flow-gated capillary electrophoresis

Hao Tang, Yiyi Wei, Jonathan E. Thompson

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4 Scopus citations


The aqueous phase nitration of benzoic acid and phenol was investigated via on-line capillary electrophoresis (CE). The presence of nitrated benzoic acid and phenol was supported through appearance of corresponding molecular ion peaks in ESI-MS measurements, and speciation of the nitrated isomers is achieved via the on-line CE method. The nitrated isomers produced in both reactions were successfully separated in <4 min by addition of 15 mM β-cyclodextrin to the electrophoresis buffer. Sequential separations (on-line analysis) allowed the reaction kinetics to be described. For benzoic acid, reaction yields were low (2-3%) however, results suggest both 3- and 2-nitrobenzoic acid form in a 1-1.4 concentration ratio. In addition, 3-hydroxybenzoic acid also forms in significant quantity under our reaction conditions. For the nitration of phenol, the reaction occurred more rapidly with observed yields between ≈10-30% for individual isomers. The yield of 2-nitrophenol was higher than 4-nitrophenol by a ratio of ≈ 1.7-2, but 3-nitrophenol was not detected. For both reactions, nitrated and hydroxylated aromatics were the major products and formation of higher molecular weight oligomers was not observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1341
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • aqueous organic aerosol
  • capillary electrophoresis
  • chemical kinetics
  • nitration reactions
  • secondary organic aerosol


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