American Chemical Society
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Molecular Characterization and Source Identification of Atmospheric Particulate Organosulfates Using Ultrahigh Resolution Mass Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-14, 00:00 authored by Kai Wang, Yun Zhang, Ru-Jin Huang, Meng Wang, Haiyan Ni, Christopher J. Kampf, Yafang Cheng, Merete Bilde, Marianne Glasius, Thorsten Hoffmann
Organosulfates (OSs) have been observed as substantial constituents of atmospheric organic aerosol (OA) in a wide range of environments; however, the chemical composition, sources, and formation mechanism of OSs are still not well understood. In this study, we first created an “OS precursor map” based on the elemental composition of previous OS chamber experiments. Then, according to this “OS precursor map”, we estimated the possible sources and molecular structures of OSs in atmospheric PM2.5 (particles with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm) samples, which were collected in urban areas of Beijing (China) and Mainz (Germany) and analyzed by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled with an Orbitrap mass spectrometer. On the basis of the “OS precursor map”, together with the polarity information provided by UHPLC, OSs in Mainz samples are suggested to be mainly derived from isoprene/glyoxal or other unknown small polar organic compounds, while OSs in Beijing samples were generated from both isoprene/glyoxal and anthropogenic sources (e.g., long-chain alkanes and aromatics). The nitrooxy-OSs in the clean aerosol samples were mainly derived from monoterpenes, while much fewer monoterpene-derived nitrooxy-OSs were obtained in the polluted aerosol samples, showing that nitrooxy-OS formation is affected by different precursors in clean and polluted air conditions.