Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Chemical Papers

More options …
Volume 68, Issue 8


Determination of nitrites and nitrates in drinking water using capillary electrophoresis

Eva Martínková
  • Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 2030, 128 43, Prague 2, Czech Republic
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Tomáš Křžek
  • Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 2030, 128 43, Prague 2, Czech Republic
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Pavel Coufal
  • Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 2030, 128 43, Prague 2, Czech Republic
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-04-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11696-014-0548-4


This work was concerned with developing an electrophoretic method for rapid determination of nitrites and nitrates in drinking water. The background electrolyte was Tris-HCl buffer with an addition of cetyltrimethylammonium chloride to reverse the electro-osmotic flow. Online preconcentration of samples using the field-amplified sample stacking method provided detection limits of 0.003 mg L−1 (i.e. 65 nM) for nitrites and 0.010 mg L−1 (i.e. 160 nM) for nitrates, which are sufficiently low for quality control of drinking water. The method was tested in a concentration range corresponding to real drinking water samples and the differentiation between nitrites and nitrates was sufficient for simultaneous determination of nitrites at their concentrations of the order of tenths of mg L−1 and nitrates at their concentrations of the order of units to tens of mg L−1. A number of authors have neglected this important aspect when concentrating only on achieving the lowest possible detection limits. Separation of the two analytes and iodate as an internal standard was achieved in only three minutes. Total analysis time including preconditioning was eight minutes.

Keywords: capillary electrophoresis; nitrites; nitrates; drinking water

  • [1] Breadmore, M. C., & Quirino, J. P. (2008). 100 000-fold concentration of anions in capillary zone electrophoresis using electroosmotic flow controlled counterflow isotachophoretic stacking under filed amplified conditions. Analytical Chemistry, 80, 6373–6381. DOI: 10.1021/ac8007835. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac8007835CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [2] Bodor, R., Madajová, V., Kaniansky, D., Masár, M., Jöhnck, M., & Stanislawski, B. (2001). Isotachophoresis and isotachophoresis — zone electrophoresis separations of inorganic anions present in water samples on a planar chip with column-coupling separation channels and conductivity detection. Journal of Chromatography A, 916, 155–165. DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9673(00)01080-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9673(00)01080-3CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [3] Boudko, D. Y., Cooper, B. Y., Harvey, W. R., & Moroz, L. L. (2002). High-resolution microanalysis of nitrite and nitrate in neuronal tissues by capillary electrophoresis with conductivity detection. Journal of Chromatography B, 774, 97–104. DOI: 10.1016/s1570-0232(02)00219-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1570-0232(02)00219-2CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [4] Fukushi, K., Tada, K., Takeda, S., Wakida, S., Yamane, M., Higashi, K., & Hiiro, K. (1999). Simultaneous determination of nitrate and nitrite ions in seawater by capillary zone electrophoresis using artificial seawater as the carrier solution. Journal of Chromatography A, 838, 303–311. DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9673 (99)00214-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9673(99)00214-9CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [5] Fukushi, K., Nakayamaa, Y., & Tsujimoto, J. (2003). Highly sensitive capillary zone electrophoresis with artificial seawater as the background electrolyte and transient isotachophoresis as the on-line concentration procedure for simultaneous determination of nitrite and nitrate in seawater. Journal of Chromatography A, 1005, 197–205. DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9673(03)00880-x. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9673(03)00880-XCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [6] Gao, L., Barber-Singh, J., Kottegoda, S., Wirtshafter, D., & Shippy, S. A. (2004). Determination of nitrate and nitrite in rat brain perfusates by capillary electrophoresis. Electrophoresis, 25, 1264–1269. DOI: 10.1002/elps.200305840. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/elps.200305840CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [7] Guan, F. Y., Wu, H. F., & Luo, Y. (1996). Sensitive and selective method for direct determination of nitrite and nitrate by high-performance capillary electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography A, 719, 427–433. DOI: 10.1016/0021-9673(95)00735-0. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9673(95)00735-0CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [8] Kaniansky, D., Zelenská, V., & Baluchová, D. (1996). Capillary zone electrophoresis of inorganic anions with conductivity detection. Electrophoresis, 17, 1890–1897. DOI: 10.1002/elps.1150171214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/elps.1150171214CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [9] Kikura-Hanajiri, R., Martin, R. S., & Lunte, S. M. (2002). Indirect measurement of nitric oxide production by monitoring nitrate and nitrite using microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. Analytical Chemistry, 74, 6370–6377. DOI: 10.1021/ac0204000. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac0204000CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [10] Kubáň, P., Nguyen, H. T. A., Macka, M., Haddad, P. R., & Hauser, P. C. (2007). New fully portable instrument for the versatile determination of cations and anions by capillary electrophoresis with contactless conductivity detection. Electroanalysis, 19, 2059–2065. DOI: 10.1002/elan.200703908. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/elan.200703908CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [11] Mahabadi, K. A., Rodriguez, I., Lim, C. Y., Maurza, D. K., Hauser, P. C., & de Rooij, N. F. (2010). Capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection with dual top-bottom cell configuration for microchip electrophoresis. Electrophoresis, 31, 1063–1070. DOI: 10.1002/elps.200900578. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [12] Martínez, V., García, N., Antigüedad, I., Alonso, R. M., & Jiménez, R. M. (2004). Capillary electrophoresis as a useful tool for the analysis of chemical tracers applied to hydrological systems. Journal of Chromatography A, 1032, 237–242. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2003.11.015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2003.11.015CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [13] Mikkers, F. E. P., Everaerts, F. M., & Verheggen, T. P. E. M. (1979). High-performance zone electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography, 169, 11–20. DOI: 10.1016/0021-9673(75)85029-1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9673(75)85029-1CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [14] Miyado, T., Tanaka, Y., Nagai, H., Takeda, S., Saito, K., Fukushi, K., Yoshida, Y., Wakida, S., & Niki, E. (2004). Simultaneous determination of nitrate and nitrite in biological fluids by capillary electrophoresis and preliminary study on their determination by microchip capillary electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography A, 1051, 185–191. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2004.08.037. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2004.08.037CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [15] Okemgbo, A. A., Hill, H. H., Siems, W. F., & Metcalf, S. G. (1999). Reverse polarity capillary zone electrophoretic analysis of nitrate and nitrite in natural water samples. Analytical Chemistry, 71, 2725–2731. DOI: 20.1021/ac990198+. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac990198+Google Scholar

  • [16] Osbourn, D. M., Weiss, D. J., & Lunte, C. E. (2000). Online preconcentration methods for capillary electrophoresis. Electrophoresis, 21, 2768–2779. DOI: 10.1002/1522-2683(20000801)21:14〈2768::aid-elps2768〉3.0.co;2-p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1522-2683(20000801)21:14<2768::AID-ELPS2768>3.0.CO;2-PCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [17] Öztekin, N., Nutku, M. S., & Erim, F. B. (2002). Simultaneous determination of nitrite and nitrate in meat products and vegetables by capillary electrophoresis. Food Chemistry, 76, 103–106. DOI: 10.1016/s0308-8146 (01)00287-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0308-8146(01)00287-4CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [18] Padarauskas, A., Paliulionyte, V., & Pranaityte, B. (2001). Single-run capillary electrophoretic determination of inorganic nitrogen species in rainwater. Analytical Chemistry, 73, 267–271. DOI: 10.1021/ac000674s. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac000674sCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [19] Röder, A., & Bächmann, K. (1995). Simultaneous determination of organic and inorganic anions in the sub-μmol/l range in rain water by capillary zone electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography A, 689, 305–311. DOI: 10.1016/0021-9673(94)00895-g. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9673(94)00895-GCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [20] Szökő, E., Tábi, T., Halász, A. S., Pálfi, M., & Magyar, K. (2004). High sensitivity analysis of nitrite and nitrate in biological samples by capillary zone electrophoresis with transient isotachophoretic sample stacking. Journal of Chromatography A, 1051, 177–183. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2004.07.037. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2004.07.037CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [21] Tanaka, Y., Naruishi, N., Fukuya, H., Sakata, J., Saito, K., & Wakida, S. (2004). Simultaneous determination of nitrite, nitrate, thiocyanate and uric acid in human saliva by capillary zone electrophoresis and its application to the study of daily variations. Journal of Chromatography A, 1051, 193–197. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2004.06.053. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2004.06.053CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [22] Troška, P., Chudoba, R., Danč, L., Bodor, R., Horčičiak, M., Tesařovár, M. (2013). Determination of nitrite and nitrate in cerebrospinal fluid by microchip electrophoresis with microsolid phase extraction pre-treatment. Journal of Chromatography B, 930, 41–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.04.042. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.04.042CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [23] Tsuda, T. (1987). Modification of electroosmotic flow with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide in capillary zone electrophoresis. Journal of High Resolution Chromatography, 10, 622–624. DOI: 10.1002/jhrc.1240101109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jhrc.1240101109CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [24] Vázquez, M., Frankenfeld, C., Tomazelli Coltro, W. K., Carrilho, E., Diamond, D., & Lunte, S. M. (2010). Dual contactless conductivity and amperometric detection on hybrid PDMS/glass electrophoresis microchips. Analyst, 135, 96–103. DOI: 10.1039/b908985c. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/b908985cCrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [25] Wang, X., Adams, E., & Van Shepdael, A. (2012). A fast and sensitive method for the determination of nitrite in human plasma by capillary electrophoresis with fluorescence detection. Talanta, 97, 142–144. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2012.04.008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2012.04.008CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [26] Xu, Z. Q., Doi, T., Timerbaev, A. R., & Hirokawa, T. (2008). Sensitive determination of anions in saliva using capillary electrophoresis after transient isotachophoretic preconcentration. Talanta, 77, 278–281. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2008.06.017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2008.06.017CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [27] Znaleziona, J., Petr, J., Knob, R., Maier, V., & Ševčík, J. (2008). Dynamic coating agents in CE. Chromatographia, 67, S5–S12. DOI: 10.1365/s10337-007-0509-y. http://dx.doi.org/10.1365/s10337-007-0509-yWeb of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2014-04-15

Published in Print: 2014-08-01

Citation Information: Chemical Papers, Volume 68, Issue 8, Pages 1008–1014, ISSN (Online) 1336-9075, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11696-014-0548-4.

Export Citation

© 2014 Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in