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  3. We previously discovered that electron attachment to gaseous peptide anions can occur within a relatively narrow electron energy range. The resulting charge-increased radical ions undergo dissociation analogous to conventional cation electron capture/transfer dissociation (ECD/ETD), thus enabling a novel tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) technique that we termed negative ion electron capture dissociation (niECD). We proposed that gaseous zwitterionic structures are required for niECD with electron capture either occurring at or being directed by a positively charged site. Here, we further evaluate this zwitterion mechanism by performing niECD of peptides derivatized to alter their ability to form zwitterionic gaseous structures. Introduction of a fixed positive charge tag, a highly basic guanidino group, or a highly acidic sulfonate group to promote zwitterionic structures in singly charged anions, rescued the niECD ability of a peptide refractory to niECD in its unmodified form. We also performed a systematic study of five sets of synthetic peptides with decreasing zwitterion propensity and found that niECD efficiency decreased accordingly, further supporting the zwitterion mechanism. However, traveling-wave ion mobility-mass spectrometry experiments, performed to gain further insight into the gas-phase structures of peptides showing high niECD efficiency, exhibited an inverse correlation between the orientationally averaged collision cross sections and niECD efficiency. These results indicate that compact salt-bridged structures are also a requirement for effective niECD. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 3, 2025
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  8. The nitrogen cycle needed for scaled agriculture relies on energy- and carbon-intensive processes and generates nitrate-containing wastewater. Here we focus on an alternative approach—the electrified co-electrolysis of nitrate and CO2 to synthesize urea. When this is applied to industrial wastewater or agricultural runoff, the approach has the potential to enable low-carbon-intensity urea production while simultaneously providing wastewater denitrification. We report a strategy that increases selectivity to urea using a hybrid catalyst: two classes of site independently stabilize the key intermediates needed in urea formation, *CO2NO2 and *COOHNH2, via a relay catalysis mechanism. A Faradaic efficiency of 75% at wastewater-level nitrate concentrations (1,000 ppm NO3− [N]) is achieved on Zn/Cu catalysts. The resultant catalysts show a urea production rate of 16 µmol h−1 cm−2. Life-cycle assessment indicates greenhouse gas emissions of 0.28 kg CO2e per kg urea for the electrochemical route, compared to 1.8 kg CO2e kg−1 for the present-day route. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024