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Occurrence of Aerosol-Bound Fullerenes in the Mediterranean Sea Atmosphere

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journal contribution
posted on 22.02.2016, 06:40 by Josep Sanchís, Naiara Berrojalbiz, Gemma Caballero, Jordi Dachs, Marinella Farré, Damià Barceló
This work describes the assessment of a selection of fullerenes including C60 and C70 fullerene, N-methylfulleropyrrolidine, C60 pyrrolidine tris-acid ethyl ester, [6,6]-Phenyl-C61 butyric acid butyl ester and [6,6]-Thienyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester, in airborne particulate from the Mediterranean Sea collected during two sampling campaigns from Barcelona to Istanbul and Alexandria, respectively. The analysis of the samples was carried out using a new method based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) presenting sensitivities between 5.4 and 20.9 pg/m3. A total number of 43 samples covering the different basins of Mediterranean Sea were analyzed. Fullerenes were detected in all analyzed samples and quantifiable concentrations were found in 28 of the analyzed samples. The median of C60 and C70 fullerenes aerosol phase concentrations were 0.06 ng/m3 and 0.48 ng/m3 respectively for the Mediterranean Sea atmosphere. C70 fullerene was the most frequently detected compound and also it was found in the higher concentrations for most samples, reaching 233.8 ng/m3. The modeled back-trajectories disclose that those samples with higher concentrations of fullerenes were related to air masses which had been circulating over regions with an intense industrial activity, but the variability of the C70/C60 ratio suggests multiple different sources. These results are related to the incidental emissions from urban and industrial development, underpinning the need of studying the possible risks associated to carbon nanoparticles in the environment and the need of evaluating the possible consequences of their ubiquitous occurrence.