PUBLICATIONS

2018
Huang R-J, Cao J, Chen Y, Yang L, Shen J, You Q, Wang K, Lin C, Xu W, Gao B, et al. Organosulfates in atmospheric aerosol: synthesis and quantitative analysis of PM2:5 from Xi’an, northwestern China. Atmos. Meas. Tech. 2018;11:3447-3456.Abstract
The sources, formation mechanism and amount of organosulfates (OS) in atmospheric aerosol are not yet well understood, partly due to the lack of authentic standardsfor quantification. In this study, we report an improved robust procedure for the synthesis of organosulfates with different functional groups. Nine authentic organosulfate standards were synthesized and four standards (benzyl sulfate, phenyl sulfate, glycolic acid sulfate, and hydroxyacetone sulfate) were used to quantify their ambient concentrations. The authentic standards and ambient aerosol sampleswere analyzed using an optimized ultra performance liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometric method (UPLC–ESI–MS/MS). The recovery ranged from 80.4 to 93.2 %, the limits of detection and limits of quantification obtained were 1.1–16.7 and 3.4– 55.6 pgm-3, respectively. Measurements of ambient aerosol particle samples collected in winter 2013/2014 in urban Xi’an, northwestern China, show that glycolic acid sulfate (77.349.2 ngm-3/ is the most abundant species of the identified organosulfates followed by hydroxyacetone sulfate (1.30.5 ngm-3/, phenyl sulfate (0.140.09 ngm-3/,and benzyl sulfate (0.040.01 ngm-3/. Except for hydroxyacetone sulfate, which seems to form mainly from biogenic emissions in this region, the organosulfates quantified during winter in Xi’an show an increasing trend with an increase in the mass concentrations of organic carbon indicating their anthropogenic origin.
Zhou W, Zhao J, Ouyang B, Mehra A, Xu W, Wang Y, Bannan TJ, Worrall SD, Priestley M, Bacak A, et al. Production of N2O5 and ClNO2 in summer in urban Beijing, China. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2018;18:11581-11597.
Huang R-J, Cheng R, Jing M, Yang L, Li Y, Chen Q, Chen Y, Yan J, Lin C, Wu Y, et al. Source-specific health risk analysis on particulate trace elements: Coal combustion and traffic emission as major contributors in wintertime Beijing. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018:Availabe online.
2017
Wang H, Lu K, Chen X, Zhu Q, Chen Q, Guo S, Jiang M, Li X, Shang D, Tan Z, et al. High N2O5 concentrations observed in urban Beijing: Implications of a large nitrate formation pathway. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2017;4(10):416–420.Abstract
The heterogeneous hydrolysis of dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5) is important to understanding the formation of particulate nitrate (pNO3–). Measurements of N2O5 in the surface layer taken at an urban site in Beijing are presented here. N2O5 was observed with large day-to-day variability. High N2O5 concentrations were determined during pollution episodes with the co-presence of large aerosol loads. The maximum value was 1.3 ppbv (5 s average), associated with an air mass characterized by a high level of O3. N2O5 uptake coefficients were estimated to be in the range of 0.025–0.072 using the steady-state lifetime method. As a consequence, the nocturnal pNO3– formation potential by N2O5 heterogeneous uptake was calculated to be 24–85 μg m–3 per night and, on average, 57 μg m–3 during days with pollution. This was comparable to or even higher than that formed by the partitioning of HNO3. The results highlight that N2O5 heterogeneous hydrolysis is vital in pNO3– formation in Beijing.
Chen Q, Fu T-M, Hu J, Ying Q, Zhang L. Modelling secondary organic aerosols in China. National Science Review [Internet]. 2017:10.1093/nsr/nwx143. Link
2016
Fu PQ, Aggarwal SG, Chen J, Li J, Sun YL, Wang ZF, Chen HS, Liao H, Ding AJ, Umarji GS, et al. Molecular Markers of Secondary Organic Aerosol in Mumbai, India. Environmental Science & Technology. 2016;50:4659-4667.Abstract
Biogenic secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are generally considered to be more abundant in summer than in winter. Here, polar organic marker compounds in urban background aerosols from Mumbai were measured using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Surprisingly, we found that concentrations of biogenic SOA tracers at Mumbai were several times lower in summer (8-14 June 2006; wet season; n = 14) than in winter (13-18 February 2007; dry season; n = 10). Although samples from less than 10% of the season are extrapolated to the full season, such seasonality may be explained, by the predominance of the southwest summer monsoon, which brings clean marine air masses to Mumbai. While heavy rains are an important contributor to aerosol removal during the monsoon season, meteorological data (relative humidity and T) suggest no heavy rains occurred during our sampling period. However, in winter, high levels of SOA and their day/night differences suggest significant contributions of continental aerosols through long-range transport together with local sources. The winter/summer pattern of SOA loadings was further supported by results from chemical transport models (NAQPMS and GEOS-Chem). Furthermore, our study suggests that monoterpene- and sesquiterpene-derived secondary organic carbon. (SOC) were more significant than those of isoprene- and toluene-SOC at Mumbai.
Liu J, Mauzerall DL, Chen Q, Zhang Q, Song Y, Peng W, Klimont Z, Qiu XH, Zhang SQ, Hu M, et al. Air pollutant emissions from Chinese households: A major and underappreciated ambient pollution source. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2016;113:7756-7761.Abstract
As part of the 12th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government has developed air pollution prevention and control plans for key regions with a focus on the power, transport, and industrial sectors. Here, we investigate the contribution of residential emissions to regional air pollution in highly polluted eastern China during the heating season, and find that dramatic improvements in air quality would also result from reduction in residential emissions. We use the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry to evaluate potential residential emission controls in Beijing and in the Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei (BTH) region. In January and February 2010, relative to the base case, eliminating residential emissions in Beijing reduced daily average surface PM2.5 (particulate mater with aerodynamic diameter equal or smaller than 2.5 micrometer) concentrations by 14 +/- 7 mu g.m(-3) (22 +/- 6% of a baseline concentration of 67 +/- 41 mu g.m(-3); mean +/- SD). Eliminating residential emissions in the BTH region reduced concentrations by 28 +/- 19 mu g.m(-3) (40 +/- 9% of 67 +/- 41 mu g.m(-3)), 44 +/- 27 mu g.m(-3) (43 +/- 10% of 99 +/- 54 mu g.m(-3)), and 25 +/- 14 mu g.m(-3) (35 +/- 8% of 70 +/- 35 mu g.m(-3)) in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei provinces, respectively. Annually, elimination of residential sources in the BTH region reduced emissions of primary PM2.5 by 32%, compared with 5%, 6%, and 58% achieved by eliminating emissions from the transportation, power, and industry sectors, respectively. We also find air quality in Beijing would benefit substantially from reductions in residential emissions from regional controls in Tianjin and Hebei, indicating the value of policies at the regional level.
2015
Chen Q, Heald CL, Jimenez JL, Canagaratna MR, Zhang Q, He L-Y, Huang X-F, Campuzano-Jost P, Palm BB, Poulain L, et al. Elemental composition of organic aerosol: The gap between ambient and laboratory measurements. Geophysical Research Letters. 2015;42:4182-4189.Abstract
A large data set including surface, aircraft, and laboratory observations of the atomic oxygen-to-carbon (O:C) and hydrogen-to-carbon (H:C) ratios of organic aerosol (OA) is synthesized and corrected using a recently reported method. The whole data set indicates a wide range of OA oxidation and a trajectory in the Van Krevelen diagram, characterized by a slope of -0.6, with variation across campaigns. We show that laboratory OA including both source and aged types explains some of the key differences in OA observed across different environments. However, the laboratory data typically fall below the mean line defined by ambient observations, and little laboratory data extend to the highest O:C ratios commonly observed in remote conditions. OA having both high O:C and high H:C are required to bridge the gaps. Aqueous-phase oxidation may produce such OA, but experiments under realistic ambient conditions are needed to constrain the relative importance of this pathway.
Hu WW, Campuzano-Jost P, Palm BB, Day DA, Ortega AM, Hayes PL, Krechmer JE, Chen Q, Kuwata M, Liu YJ, et al. Characterization of a real-time tracer for isoprene epoxydiols-derived secondary organic aerosol (IEPOX-SOA) from aerosol mass spectrometer measurements. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2015;15:11807-11833.Abstract
Substantial amounts of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) can be formed from isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX), which are oxidation products of isoprene mainly under low-NO conditions. Total IEPOX-SOA, which may include SOA formed from other parallel isoprene oxidation pathways, was quantified by applying positive matrix factorization (PMF) to aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) measurements. The IEPOX-SOA fractions of organic aerosol (OA) in multiple field studies across several continents are summarized here and show consistent patterns with the concentration of gas-phase IEPOX simulated by the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model. During the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS), 78% of PMF-resolved IEPOX-SOA is accounted by the measured IEPOX-SOA molecular tracers (2-methyltetrols, C5-Triols, and IEPOX-derived organosulfate and its dimers), making it the highest level of molecular identification of an ambient SOA component to our knowledge. An enhanced signal at C5H6O+ (m/z 82) is found in PMF-resolved IEPOX-SOA spectra. To investigate the suitability of this ion as a tracer for IEPOX-SOA, we examine fC(5)H(6)O (fC(5)H(6)O = C5H6O+ / OA) across multiple field, chamber, and source data sets. A background of similar to 1.7 +/- 0.1 parts per thousand (parts per thousand = parts per thousand) is observed in studies strongly influenced by urban, biomass-burning, and other anthropogenic primary organic aerosol (POA). Higher background values of 3.1 +/- 0.6 parts per thousand are found in studies strongly influenced by monoterpene emissions. The average laboratory monoterpene SOA value (5.5 +/- 2.0 parts per thousand) is 4 times lower than the average for IEPOX-SOA (22 +/- 7 parts per thousand), which leaves some room to separate both contributions to OA. Locations strongly influenced by isoprene emissions under low-NO levels had higher fC(5)H(6)O (similar to 6.5 +/- 2.2 parts per thousand on average) than other sites, consistent with the expected IEPOX- SOA formation in those studies. fC(5)H(6)O in IEPOX- SOA is always elevated (12-40 parts per thousand) but varies substantially between locations, which is shown to reflect large variations in its detailed molecular composition. The low fC(5)H(6)O (< 3 parts per thousand) reported in non-IEPOX-derived isoprene-SOA from chamber studies indicates that this tracer ion is specifically enhanced from IEPOX- SOA, and is not a tracer for all SOA from isoprene. We introduce a graphical diagnostic to study the presence and aging of IEPOX- SOA as a triangle plot of f(CO2) vs. fC(5)H(6)O. Finally, we develop a simplified method to estimate ambient IEPOX- SOA mass concentrations, which is shown to perform well compared to the full PMF method. The uncertainty of the tracer method is up to a factor of similar to 2, if the fC(5)H(6)O of the local IEPOX- SOA is not available. When only unit mass-resolution data are available, as with the aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM), all methods may perform less well because of increased interferences from other ions at m/z 82. This study clarifies the strengths and limitations of the different AMS methods for detection of IEPOX- SOA and will enable improved characterization of this OA component.
Canagaratna MR, Jimenez JL, Kroll JH, Chen Q, Kessler SH, Massoli P, Ruiz LH, Fortner E, Williams LR, Wilson KR, et al. Elemental ratio measurements of organic compounds using aerosol mass spectrometry: characterization, improved calibration, and implications. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2015;15:253-272.Abstract
Elemental compositions of organic aerosol (OA) particles provide useful constraints on OA sources, chemical evolution, and effects. The Aerodyne high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) is widely used to measure OA elemental composition. This study evaluates AMS measurements of atomic oxygen-to-carbon (O : C), hydrogen-to-carbon (H : C), and organic mass-to-organic carbon (OM : OC) ratios, and of carbon oxidation state ((OS) over bar (C))for a vastly expanded laboratory data set of multifunctional oxidized OA standards. For the expanded standard data set, the method introduced by Aiken et al. (2008), which uses experimentally measured ion intensities at all ions to determine elemental ratios (referred to here as "Aiken-Explicit"), reproduces known O: C and H: C ratio values within 20% (average absolute value of relative errors) and 12%, respectively. The more commonly used method, which uses empirically estimated H2O+ and CO+ ion intensities to avoid gas phase air interferences at these ions (referred to here as "Aiken-Ambient"), reproduces O: C and H: C of multifunctional oxidized species within 28 and 14% of known values. The values from the latter method are systematically biased low, however, with larger biases observed for alcohols and simple diacids. A detailed examination of the H2O+, CO+, and CO2+ fragments in the high-resolution mass spectra of the standard compounds indicates that the Aiken-Ambient method underestimates the CO C and especially H2O+ produced from many oxidized species. Combined AMS-vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) ionization measurements indicate that these ions are produced by dehydration and decarboxylation on the AMS vaporizer (usually operated at 600 degrees C). Thermal decomposition is observed to be efficient at vaporizer temperatures down to 200 degrees C. These results are used together to develop an "Improved-Ambient" elemental analysis method for AMS spectra measured in air. The Improved-Ambient method uses specific ion fragments as markers to correct for molecular functionality-dependent systematic biases and reproduces known O : C (H : C) ratios of individual oxidized standards within 28% (13 %) of the known molecular values. The error in Improved-Ambient O : C (H : C) values is smaller for theoretical standard mixtures of the oxidized organic standards, which are more representative of the complex mix of species present in ambient OA. For ambient OA, the Improved-Ambient method produces O : C (H : C) values that are 27% (11 %) larger than previously published Aiken-Ambient values; a corresponding increase of 9% is observed for OM : OC values. These results imply that ambient OA has a higher relative oxygen content than previously estimated. The (OS) over bar (C) values calculated for ambient OA by the two methods agree well, however (average relative difference of 0.06 (OS) over bar (C) units). This indicates that (OS) over bar (C) is a more robust metric of oxidation than O : C, likely since (OS) over bar (C) is not affected by hydration or dehydration, either in the atmosphere or during analysis.
Chen Q, Farmer DK, Rizzo LV, Pauliquevis T, Kuwata M, Karl TG, Guenther A, Allan JD, Coe H, Andreae MO, et al. Submicron particle mass concentrations and sources in the Amazonian wet season (AMAZE-08). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2015;15:3687-3701.Abstract
Real-time mass spectra of the non-refractory species in submicron aerosol particles were recorded in a tropical rainforest in the central Amazon Basin during the wet season from February to March 2008, as a part of the Amazonian Aerosol Characterization Experiment (AMAZE-08). Organic material accounted on average for more than 80% of the non-refractory submicron particle mass concentrations during the period of measurements. There was insufficient ammonium to neutralize sulfate. In this acidic, isoprene-rich, HO2-dominant environment, positive-matrix factorization of the time series of particle mass spectra identified four statistical factors to account for the 99% of the variance in the signal intensities of the organic constituents. The first factor was identified as associated with regional and local pollution and labeled "HOA" for its hydrocarbon-like characteristics. A second factor was associated with long-range transport and labeled "OOA-1" for its oxygenated characteristics. A third factor, labeled "OOA-2," was implicated as associated with the reactive uptake of isoprene oxidation products, especially of epoxydiols to acidic haze, fog, or cloud droplets. A fourth factor, labeled "OOA-3," was consistent with an association with the fresh production of secondary organic material (SOM) by the mechanism of gasphase oxidation of biogenic volatile organic precursors followed by gas-to-particle conversion of the oxidation products. The suffixes 1, 2, and 3 on the OOA labels signify ordinal ranking with respect to the extent of oxidation represented by the factor. The process of aqueous-phase oxidation of water-soluble products of gas-phase photochemistry might also have been associated to some extent with the OOA-2 factor. The campaign-average factor loadings had a ratio of 1.4 : 1 for OOA-2 : OOA-3, suggesting the comparable importance of particle-phase compared to gas-phase pathways for the production of SOM during the study period.
2013
Farmer DK, Chen Q, Kimmel JR, Docherty KS, Nemitz E, Artaxo PA, Cappa CD, Martin ST, Jimenez JL. Chemically resolved particle fluxes over tropical and temperate forests. Aerosol Science and Technology. 2013;47:818-830.
2012
Pöhlker C, Wiedemann KT, Sinha B, Shiraiwa M, Gunthe SS, Smith M, Su H, Artaxo P, Chen Q, Cheng YF, et al. Biogenic potassium salt particles as seeds for secondary organic aerosol in the Amazon. Science. 2012;337:1075-1078.Abstract
The fine particles serving as cloud condensation nuclei in pristine Amazonian rainforest air consist mostly of secondary organic aerosol. Their origin is enigmatic, however, because new particle formation in the atmosphere is not observed. Here, we show that the growth of organic aerosol particles can be initiated by potassium-salt-rich particles emitted by biota in the rainforest. These particles act as seeds for the condensation of low- or semi-volatile organic compounds from the atmospheric gas phase or multiphase oxidation of isoprene and terpenes. Our findings suggest that the primary emission of biogenic salt particles directly influences the number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei and affects the microphysics of cloud formation and precipitation over the rainforest.
Chen Q, Li YL, McKinney KA, Kuwata M, Martin ST. Particle mass yield from b-caryophyllene ozonolysis. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2012;12:3165-3179.Abstract
The influence of second-generation products on the particle mass yield of beta-caryophyllene ozonolysis was systematically tested and quantified. The approach was to vary the relative concentrations of first- and second-generation products by adjusting the concentration of ozone while observing changes in particle mass yield. For all wall-loss corrected organic particle mass concentrations M-org of this study (0.5 < M-org < 230 mu g m(-3)), the data show that the particle-phase organic material was composed for the most part of second-generation products. For 0.5 < M-org < 10 mu g m(-3), a range which overlaps with atmospheric concentrations, the particle mass yield was 10 to 20% and was not sensitive to ozone exposure, implying that the constituent molecules were rapidly produced at all investigated ozone exposures. In contrast, for M-org > 10 mu g m(-3) the particle mass yield increased to as high as 70% for the ultimate yield corresponding to the greatest ozone exposures. These differing dependencies on ozone exposure under different regimes of M-org are explained by a combination of the ozonolysis lifetimes of the first-generation products and the volatility distribution of the resulting second-generation products. First-generation products that have short lifetimes produce low-volatility second-generation products whereas first-generation products that have long lifetimes produce high-volatility second-generation products. The ultimate particle mass yield was defined by mass-based stoichiometric yields alpha(i) of alpha(0) = 0.17 +/- 0.05, alpha(1) = 0.11 +/- 0.17, and alpha(2) = 1.03 +/- 0.30 for corresponding saturation concentrations of 1, 10, and 100 mu g m(-3). Terms alpha(0) and alpha(1) had low sensitivity to the investigated range of ozone exposure whereas term alpha(2) increased from 0.32 +/- 0.13 to 1.03 +/- 0.30 as the ozone exposure was increased. These findings potentially allow for simplified yet accurate parameterizations in air quality and climate models that seek to represent the ozonolysis particle mass yields of certain classes of biogenic compounds.
2011
Chen Q, Liu Y, Donahue NM, Shilling JE, Martin ST. Particle-phase chemistry of secondary organic material: Modeled compared to measured O:C and H:C elemental ratios provide constraints. Environmental Science and Technology. 2011;45:4763-4770.Abstract
Chemical mechanisms for the production of secondary organic material (SOM) are developed in focused laboratory studies but widely used in the complex modeling context of the atmosphere. Given this extrapolation, a stringent testing of the mechanisms is important. In addition to particle mass yield as a typical standard for model-measurement comparison, particle composition expressed as O:C and H:C elemental ratios can serve as a higher dimensional constraint. A paradigm for doing so is developed herein for SOM production from a C(5)-C(10)-C(15) terpene sequence, namely isoprene, a-pinene, and beta-caryopyhllene. The model MCM-SIMPOL is introduced based on the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.2) and a group contribution method for vapor pressures (SIMPOL). The O:C and H:C ratios of the SOM are measured using an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Detailed SOM-specific AMS calibrations for the organic contribution to the H(2)O(+) and CO(+) ions indicate that published O:C and H:C ratios for SOM are systematically too low. Overall, the measurement-model gap was small for particle mass yield but significant for particle-average elemental composition. The implication is that a key chemical pathway is missing from the chemical mechanism. The data can be explained by the particle-phase homolytic decomposition of organic hydroperoxides and subsequent alkyl-radical-promoted oligomerization.
Zhao DF, Zhu T, Chen Q, Liu YJ, Zhang ZF. Raman micro-spectrometry as a technique for investigating heterogeneous reactions on individual atmospheric particles. Science China-Chemistry. 2011;54:154-160.
Kuwata M, Chen Q, Martin ST. Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity and oxygen-to-carbon elemental ratios following thermodenuder treatment of organic particles grown by a-pinene ozonolysis. Physical Chemistry Chemical PhysicsPhysical Chemistry Chemical PhysicsPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 2011;13:14571-14583.Abstract
The effects of thermodenuder treatment on the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity and elemental composition of organic particles grown by alpha-pinene ozonolysis were investigated. The secondary organic material (SOM) was produced in a continuous-flow chamber, with steady-state organic particle mass concentrations M(org) ranging from 1.4 to 37 mu g m(-3). Particles exiting in the outflow were heated to temperatures T of up to 100 degrees C in a thermodenuder. The oxygen-to-carbon (O:C) and hydrogen-to-carbon (H:C) ratios were measured by on-line mass spectrometry. The observed elemental ratios were fit by a linear function, given by (H:C) = -0.8 (O:C) + 1.8 for 0.38 < O:C < 0.50. This fit included the dependence on both M(org) and T, meaning that the single variable of post-thermodenuder M(org) was sufficient as an accurate predictor for O:C(M(org)(T)) and H:C(M(org)(T)). This result suggests that equilibrium partitioning theory largely governed the initial volatilization in the thermodenuder. By comparison, the CCN activity had a different dependence on thermodenuder treatment. At 25 degrees C, the CCN activity was independent of M(org), having an effective hygroscopicity parameter kappa(org) of 0.103 +/- 0.002. At 100 degrees C, however, kappa(org) varied from 0.105 for M(org) = 1.4 mu g m(-3) to 0.079 for M(org) = 37 mu g m(-3), indicating that for high mass concentration the CCN activity decreased with heat treatment. The interpretation is that the oligomer fraction of the SOM increased at elevated T, both because of particle-phase reactions that produced oligomers under those conditions and because of the relative enrichment of lower-volatility oligomers in the SOM accompanying the evaporation of higher-volatility monomers from the SOM. Oligomers have high effective molecular weights and thereby significantly influence CCN activity. The production rates of different types of oligomers depend on the types and concentrations of functional groups present in the SOM, which in turn are strongly influenced by M(org). We conclude with a hypothesis, which is supported by a detailed molecular kinetic model, that the changes in kappa(org) at high T were more significant at high compared to low M(org) because particle-phase SOM at high M(org) contained a mix of functional groups favorable to oligomerization, such as carbonyl groups.
Robinson NH, Hamilton JF, Allan JD, Langford B, Oram DE, Chen Q, Docherty K, Farmer DK, Jimenez JL, Ward MW, et al. Evidence for a significant proportion of secondary organic aerosol from isoprene above a maritime tropical forest. Atmospheric Chemistry and PhysicsAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2011;11:1039-1050.
Schneider J, Freutel F, Zorn SR, Chen Q, Farmer DK, Jimenez JL, Martin ST, Artaxo P, Wiedensohler A, Borrmann S. Mass- spectrometric identification of primary biological particle markers and application to pristine submicron aerosol measurements in Amazonia. Atmospheric Chemistry and PhysicsAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2011;11:11415-11429.Abstract
The detection of primary biological material in submicron aerosol by means of thermal desorption/electron impact ionization aerosol mass spectrometry was investigated. Mass spectra of amino acids, carbohydrates, small peptides, and proteins, all of which are key building blocks of biological particles, were recorded in laboratory experiments. Several characteristic marker fragments were identified. The intensity of the marker signals relative to the total organic mass spectrum allows for an estimation of the content of primary biological material in ambient organic aerosol. The developed method was applied to mass spectra recorded during AMAZE-08, a field campaign conducted in the pristine rainforest of the central Amazon Basin, Brazil, during the wet season of February and March 2008. The low abundance of identified marker fragments places upper limits of 7.5% for amino acids and 5.6% for carbohydrates on the contribution of primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) to the submicron organic aerosol mass concentration during this time period. Upper limits for the absolute submicron concentrations for both compound classes range from 0.01 to 0.1 mu g m(-3). Carbohydrates and proteins (composed of amino acids) make up for about two thirds of the dry mass of a biological cell. Thus, our findings suggest an upper limit for the PBAP mass fraction of about 20% to the submicron organic aerosol measured in Amazonia during AMAZE-08.
Bertram AK, Martin ST, Hanna SJ, Smith ML, Bodsworth A, Chen Q, Kuwata M, Liu A, You Y, Zorn SR. Predicting the relative humidities of liquid-liquid phase separation, efflorescence, and deliquescence of mixed particles of ammonium sulfate, organic material, and water using the organic-to-sulfate mass ratio of the particle and the oxygen-to-carbon ele. Atmospheric Chemistry and PhysicsAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2011;11:10995-11006.

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