Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed an ion chromatography (IC)-based method for the accurate determination of ammonia in tobacco smoke. Ammonia is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of toxic compounds in tobacco smoke. Application Note 1054: Determination of Ammonia in Tobacco Smoke describes an approach that achieves better resolution of ammonium from other analytes present in tobacco smoke when compared to other IC methods and therefore is not subject to interference from small amines. The method has high precisions, a low detection limit (0.01 mg/L), and good recoveries (86–115%).
This new method uses a specialized high-capacity cation-exchange column that allows sample analysis without dilution of the acidic solution used to trap the tobacco smoke. The analyst needs only to add deionized water to the Reagent-Free™ IC (RFIC™)-Eluent Generator (EG) system to analyze samples. Use of the RFIC-EG system also allows for continuous operation of the instrument with minimum maintenance, and the electrolytically generated methanesulfonic acid eluent eliminates the labor and possible error associated with eluent preparation. Additionally, the 2 mm column format generates less waste and uses less eluent than the typically used 4 mm format.