Dermal nitrate: an old marker of firearm discharge revisited with capillary electrophoresis

F Tagliaro, F. Bortolotti, G. Manetto, Vincenzo Lorenzo Pascali, M. Marigo

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

20 Citazioni (Scopus)


The present work describes a capillary electrophoretic method for nitrite and nitrate determination to be used as a screening tool for investigating the residues of firearm discharge. The use of capillary electrophoresis allowed the rapid determination of nitrite and nitrate, which are major inorganic components of gunshot residues, offering a quantitative and selective alternative to the traditional paraffin test (dermal nitrate test). The method is simpler, cheaper, and faster than the modern approaches to gunshot residue analysis based on the determination of barium, lead and antimony by using flameless absorption spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), or scanning electron microscopy. The analysis was carried out in a bare fused-silica capillary (75 μm inner diameter) with a 100 mM borate buffer (pH 9.24). The detection was by UV absorption at 214 nm. Separation took place under reversed voltage of 15 kV. Bromide was used as the internal standard. Sensitivity was about 1 mM for both nitrite and nitrate. Reproducibility (intraday and day-to-day) was also good with relative standard deviations (RSDs) < 1.0% for relative migration times and < 4.5% for peak areas in both standard solutions and real matrix. Hair and skin samples from a victim shot in the head were successfully analyzed for the presence of nitrite and nitrate.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)278-282
Numero di pagine5
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2002


  • Dermal-nitrate
  • Forensic
  • toxicology


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