Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Sep 1;42(17):6469-75.

Size distribution of particle-phase molecular markers during a severe winter pollution episode.

Author information

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Agriculture and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Airborne particulate matter was collected using filter samplers and cascade impactors in six size fractions below 1.8 microm during a severe winter air pollution event at three sites in the Central Valley of California. The smallest size fraction analyzed was 0.056 < Dp <0.1 microm particle diameter, which accounts for the majority of the mass in the ultrafine (PM0.1) size range. Separate samples were collected during the daytime (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST) and nighttime (8 p.m. to 8 a.m. PST) to characterize diurnal patterns. Each sample was extracted with organic solvents and analyzed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry for molecular markers that can be used for size-resolved source apportionment calculations. Colocated impactor and filter measurements were highly correlated (R8 > 0.8) for retene, benzo[ghi]flouranthene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[e]pyrene, benzo[a]pyrene, perylene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, benzo[ghi]perylene, coronene, MW302 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), 17beta(H)-21alpha(H)-30-norhopane, 17alpha(H)-21beta(H)-hopane, alphabetabeta-20R-C29-ethylcholestane, levoglucosan, and cholesterol. Of these compounds, levoglucosan was present in the highest concentration (60-2080 ng m(-3)) followed by cholesterol (6-35 ng m(-3)), PAHs (2-38 ng m(-3)), and hopanes and steranes (0-2 ng m(-3)). Nighttime concentrations were higher than daytime concentrations in all cases. Organic compound size distributions were generally similar to the total carbon size distributions during the nighttime but showed greater variability during the daytime. This may reflect the dominance of fresh emission in the stagnant surface layer during the evening hours and the presence of aged organic aerosol at the surface during the daytime when the atmosphere is better mixed. All of the measured organic compound particle size distributions had a single mode that peaked somewhere between 0.18 and 0.56 microm, but the width of each distribution varied by compound. Cholesterol generally had the broadest particle size distribution, while benzo[ghi]perylene and 17alpha(H)-21beta(H)-29-norhopane generally had sharper peaks. The difference between the size distributions of the various particle-phase organic compounds reflects the fact that these compounds exist in particles emitted from different sources. The results of the current study will prove useful for size-resolved source apportionment exercises.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center