Project at a Glance

Title: Determination of key organic compounds present in the particulate matter emissions from air pollution sources.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Rogge, Wolfgang F

Contractor: California Institute of Technology

Contract Number: A932-127

Research Program Area: Atmospheric Processes, Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Area Sources, Chemistry & Reactivity


Carbonaceous compounds constitute the largest contributor to the fine particulate matter in the atmosphere of highly industrialized and urbanized areas. Organic aerosol comprises 25% to 30% of total fine aerosol mass in the greater Los Angeles area. Fine particulate matter (dp < 2.0 Ám or dp = 2.0 Ám ) is known to be easily inhalable and has been considered responsible, together with gaseous pollutants, for the possible health effects connected with air pollutants. Elevated concentrations of organic compounds in fine respirable particles measured in urbanized areas are of considerable concern because many of the organic present in the atmosphere are known mutagens and carcinogens. In order to design an advanced strategy for the control of fine primary organic particulate emissions, more knowledge is necessary regarding source/ receptor relationships.

The purpose of this research si to provide a molecular characterization of the primary organic particulate matter emitted from urban pollution sources, to provide parallel data on the concentration of these compounds found in ambient air, and to use this information to compare emission data to air quality data for many organic compounds. A dilution source sampling system was employed to collect primary fine aerosol emissions from 18 major urban source types that contribute close to 80% of the fine organic aerosol emitted in the Los Angeles area. Ambient fine particle samples were collected for one entire year at four urban locations and at one remote offshore sampling site. The identification and quantification of organic compounds present in these samples has been conducted by high resolution GC-and GC/MS-techniques. The identification of organic marker compounds that are characteristic of particular source types has been emphasized. These marker compounds then can be used along with source/receptor modeling techniques to quantify the presence of the effluent from particular source types within ambient aerosol samples. The following sources will be characterized and their molecular source signatures discussed: charbroiling and frying of meat, noncatalyst and catalyst equipped automobiles, diesel trucks, paved road dust, brake lining dust, tire wear debris, vegetative detritus derived from the green and dead leaves of urban plants, natural gas home appliances, cigarette smoke, roofing tar pot fumes, distillate fuel oil combustion and woodsmoke.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

Stay involved, sign up with CARB's Research Email Distribution List