• Application Note

Determination of Nitroaromatics and Nitramines by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (Explosives)

Determination of Nitroaromatics and Nitramines by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (Explosives)

  • Waters Corporation

This is an Application Brief and does not contain a detailed Experimental section.


This application note describes EPA Method 8330.0 determination of nitroaromatics and nitramines by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


The presence of numerous military and defense sites around the world, both active and decommissioned, has resulted in the presence of explosives compounds in locations where they can enter the water supply. In the US, the evaluation of sites for potential contamination is carried out by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), US Department of Defense, and US Department of Energy in support of Superfund, RCRA, and Base Closure environmental programs.


HPLC Conditions


Waters Alliance HPLC system with 2487 Dual λ Absorbance detector


10 mM ammonium formate/isopropanol


XTerra Phenyl, 3.5 μm, 2.1 x 150 mm @ 40 °C


10 μL of standard

Flow rate:

0.25 mL/min


UV @ 254 nm


Waters Empower software

Sample Preparation

Sample Matrix:

Groundwater and surface water, low concentration

Sample Prep:

Solid-phase extraction using a 500 mL sample Porapak reverse-phase sorbent (RDX), elute with acetonitrile

Alternate Sample Preparation

Oasis HLB Extraction Method
Oasis HLB Extraction Cartridge, 6 cc, 200 mg

1 This wash step will remove humic and other interferences.
2 Tetyl is unstable in base-this step removed NH4OH prior to elution.

Standard Preparation

Dilute 100 μL of AccuStandard mix (M-8330-R) to 10 mL with eluent for a working 10 ppm standard mixture.

Eluent Preparation

10 mM ammonium formate/isoprapanol

Dissolve 0.631 g of ammonium formate in 100 mL water. Transfer to a 1 L volumetric flask. Add 200 mL of Isopropanol. Dilute to the mark with water and mix well. Carefully pH to 3.8 with formic acid, then filter and degas.

Results and Discussion

Figure 1: Standard chromatogram, 10 ppm each analyte.


  1. The Science of ACQUITY UPLC Applied to Environmental Analyses of PAHs and Explosives in Water 720001398EN
  2. Explosives in River Water – Oasis Solution WA31764.82 An Improved Method for Determination of Nitroaromatic and Nitramine Explosives in Aqueous Samples WA20717
  3. High Speed Explosives Monitoring using UPLC 720000950EN

720002737, 2008

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