A Marine Source for Alkyl Nitrates

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Science  16 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5584, pp. 1127-1128
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075470

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Organic nitrates are a product of the light-driven chemistry of air pollution. Natural sources have also been proposed to account for high concentrations of alkyl nitrates in marine air. In his Perspective, Ballschmiter highlights the report by Chuck et al., who show that surface waters in the Equatorial Atlantic contain high concentrations of methyl and ethyl nitrates. The work demonstrates that the ocean is a natural source of these compounds, although the formation mechanism remains unknown.