As nitric oxide (NO) is a key messenger in many organisms, reliable techniques for the detection of NO are essential. Here, it is shown that a combination of membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS) and restriction capillary inlet mass spectrometry (RIMS) allows for the fast, specific, and non-invasive online detection of NO that has been emitted from tissue cultures of diverse organisms, or from whole plants. As an advantage over other NO assays, MIMS/RIMS discriminates nitrogen isotopes and simultaneously measures NO and O2 (and other gases) from the same sample. MIMS/RIMS technology may thus help to identify the source of gaseous NO in cells, and elucidate the relationship between primary gas metabolism and NO formation. Using RIMS, it is demonstrated that the novel fungicide F 500® triggers NO production in plants.