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Limonene and its ozone-initiated reaction products were investigated in situ by low temperature plasma (LTP) ionization quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) mass spectrometry. Helium was used as discharge gas and the protruding plasma generated ~850 ppb ozone in front of the glass tube by reaction with the ambient oxygen. Limonene applied to filter paper was placed in front of the LTP afterglow and the MS inlet. Instantly, a wide range of reaction products appeared, ranging from m/z 139 to ca. 1000 in the positive mode and m/z 115 to ca. 600 in the negative mode. Key monomeric oxidation products including levulinic acid, 4-acetyl-1-methylcyclohexene, limonene oxide, 3-isopropenyl-6-oxo-heptanal, and the secondary ozonide of limonene could be identified by collision-induced dissociation. Oligomeric products ranged from the nonoxidized dimer of limonene (C20H30) and up to the hexamer with 10 oxygen atoms (C60H90O10). The use of LTP for in situ ozonolysis and ionization represents a new and versatile approach for the assessment of ozone-initiated terpene chemistry.


Asger W Nørgaard, Anni Vibenholt, Mario Benassi, Per Axel Clausen, Peder Wolkoff. Study of ozone-initiated limonene reaction products by low temperature plasma ionization mass spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 2013 Jul;24(7):1090-6

PMID: 23666602

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