Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemistry


Sarah A. Green


Free radicals are present in cigarette smoke and can have a negative effect on human health by attacking lipids, nucleic acids, proteins and other biologically important species. However, because of the complexity of the tobacco smoke system and the dynamic nature of radicals, little is known about the identity of the radicals, and debate continues on the mechanisms by which those radicals are produced. In this study, acetyl radicals were trapped from the gas phase using 3-amino-2, 2, 5, 5- tetramethyl-proxyl (3AP) on solid support to form stable 3AP adducts for later analysis by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry/tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS/MS) and liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Simulations of acetyl radical generation were performed using Matlab and the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) programs.

A range of 10- 150 nmol/cigarette of acetyl radical was measured from gas phase tobacco smoke of both commerial and research cigarettes under several different smoking conditions. More radicals were detected from the puff smoking method compared to continuous flow sampling. Approximately twice as many acetyl radicals were trapped when a GF/F particle filter was placed before the trapping zone. Computational simulations show that NO/NO2 reacts with isoprene, initiating chain reactions to produce a hydroxyl radical, which abstracts hydrogen from acetaldehyde to generate acetyl radical. With initial concentrations of NO, acetaldehyde, and isoprene in a real-world cigarette smoke scenario, these mechanisms can account for the full amount of acetyl radical detected experimentally. This study contributes to the overall understanding of the free radical generation in gas phase cigarette smoke.

Included in

Chemistry Commons