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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Dec 15;42(24):9203-9.

Formation of nitro products from the gas-phase OH radical-initiated reactions of toluene, naphthalene, and biphenyl: effect of NO2 concentration.

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Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.

Erratum in

  • Environ Sci Technol. 2010 May 1;44(9):3644.


Aromatic hydrocarbons, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are released into the atmosphere principally during incomplete combustion and account for approximately 20% of nonmethane organic compounds in urban air. Reaction with OH radicals is the dominant atmospheric chemical loss process for aromatic hydrocarbons, leading mainly to the formation of an OH-aromatic or OH-PAH adduct which then reacts with O2 and/or NO2. For OH-monocyclic aromatic adducts, reaction with O2 dominates under atmospheric conditions; however, no data are available concerning the relative importance of reactions of OH-PAH adducts with O2 and NO2. We have measured formation yields of 3-nitrotoluene, 1- and 2-nitronaphthalene, and 3-nitrobiphenyl from the OH radical-initiated reactions of toluene, naphthalene, and biphenyl as a function of NO2 concentration. Our data showthatthe OH-aromatic adduct reactions with O2 and NO2 are of equal importance in the atmosphere at NO2 mixing ratios of approximately 3.3 ppmV for toluene, approximately 0.06 ppmV for naphthalene, and approximately 0.6 ppmV for biphenyl. Ambient concentrations of toluene, naphthalene, and biphenyl and their nitrated products measured at a site in the Los Angeles air basin are consistent with our laboratory measurements.

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