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Fluorescence Microscopy Analysis of Particulate Matter from Biomass Burning: Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons as Main Contributors

Garra P., Maschowski C., Liaud C., Dieterlen A., Trouvé G., Le Calvé S., Jaffrezo J.-L., Leyssens G., Schönnenbeck C., Kohler S., Gieré R.
2 015
Short Citation: 
Garra et al., 2015
Aerosol Science and Technology
New efficient approaches to the characterization of fly ash and particulate matter (PM) have to be developed in order to better understand their impacts on environment and health. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) contained in PM from biomass burning have been identified as genotoxic and cytotoxic, and some tools already exist to quantify their contribution to PM. Optical fluorescence microscopy is proposed as a rapid and relatively economical method to allow the quantification of PAH in different particles emitted from biomass combustion. In this study samples were collected in the flue gas of biomass-combustion facilities with nominal output ranging from 40 kW to 17.3 MW. The fly ash samples were collected with various flue gas treatment devices (multicyclone, baghouse filter, electrostatic precipitator); PM samples were fractionated from the flue gas with a DEKATI® DGI impactor. A method using fluorescence observations (at 470 nm), white-light observations and image processing has been developed with the aim of quantifying fluorescence per sample. Organic components of PM and fly ash, such as PAH, humic-like substances (HULIS) and water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) were also quantified. Fluorescence microscopy analysis method assessment was first realized with fly ash that was artificially coated with PAH and HULIS. Total amounts of PAH in the three size fractions of actual PM from biomass burning strongly correlated with the intensities of fluorescence. These encouraging results contribute to the development of a faster and cheaper method of quantifying particle-bound PAH.
EES Authors: 
Reto Gieré
Research Tracks: 
Ocean and Climate Dynamics
Research Track Category: 

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316