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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2013, Article ID 818943, 9 pages
Research Article

The Influence of Phosphate Buffer on the Formation of N-Nitrosodimethylamine from Dimethylamine Nitrosation

1College of Life Science & Bioengineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100124, China
2State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory for Lake Pollution Control, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100021, China

Received 17 July 2012; Revised 10 September 2012; Accepted 13 September 2012

Academic Editor: Luis F. Guido

Copyright © 2013 Long Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Buffer solutions were widely used for almost all the investigations concerning N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a member of powerful mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds which are ubiquitous in the environment. However, whether or how the buffer matrixes influence NDMA formation is still unknown. The effect of buffer solutions on NDMA formation from the nitrosation of dimethylamine (DMA) by nitrite (NaNO2) was investigated at pH 6.4 in four kinds of buffer solutions, that is, Na2HPO4/C6H8O7, Na3(C6H5O7)/C6H8O7, NaH2PO4/NaOH, and NaH2PO4/Na2HPO4. Our observations demonstrate an unexpected inhibitory effect of the buffer solutions on NDMA formation and the phosphate buffer plays a more significant role in inhibiting NDMA formation compared to the citrate buffer. Moreover, the amount of the phosphate in the buffer was also found to greatly impact the formation of NDMA. A further investigation indicates that it is the interaction between NaH2PO4 and reactant NaNO2 rather than DMA that leads to the inhibitory effect of phosphate buffer during the DMA nitrosation reaction. This study expands the understanding of the influence of buffer solution on nitrosamines formation through the nitrosation pathway and further gives a hint for water plants to reduce the formation of nitrosamines.