Predominance of secondary organic aerosol to particle-bound reactive oxygen species activity in fine ambient aerosol

Zhou, Jun; Elser, Miriam; Huang, Ru-Jin; Krapf, Manuel; Fröhlich, Roman; Bhattu, Deepika; Stefenelli, Giulia; Zotter, Peter; Bruns, Emily A.; Pieber, Simone M.; Ni, Haiyan; Wang, Qiyuan; Wang, Yichen; Zhou, Yaqing; Chen, Chunying; Xiao, Mao; Slowik, Jay G.; Brown, Samuel; Cassagnes, Laure-Estelle; Daellenbach, Kaspar R.; ... (2019). Predominance of secondary organic aerosol to particle-bound reactive oxygen species activity in fine ambient aerosol. Atmospheric chemistry and physics, 19(23), pp. 14703-14720. European Geosciences Union 10.5194/acp-19-14703-2019

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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are believed to contribute to the adverse health effects of aerosols. This may happen by inhaled particle-bound (exogenic) ROS (PBROS) or by ROS formed within the respiratory tract by certain aerosol components (endogenic ROS). We investigated the chemical composition of aerosols and their exogenic ROS content at the two contrasting locations Beijing (China) and Bern (Switzerland). We apportioned the ambient organic aerosol to different sources and attributed the observed water-soluble PB-ROS to them. The oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA, a proxy for secondary organic aerosol, SOA) explained the highest fraction of the exogenic ROS concentration variance at both locations. We also characterized primary and secondary aerosol emissions generated from different biogenic and anthropogenic sources in smog chamber experiments. The exogenic PB-ROS content in the OOA from these emission sources was comparable to that in the ambient measurements. Our results imply that SOA from gaseous precursors of different anthropogenic emission sources is a crucial source of water-soluble PB-ROS and should be additionally considered in toxicological and epidemiological studies in an adequate way besides primary emissions. The importance of PB-ROS may be connected to the seasonal trends in health effects of PM reported by epidemiological studies, with elevated incidences of adverse effects in warmer seasons, which are accompanied by moreintense atmospheric oxidation processes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Geiser, Marianne


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




European Geosciences Union


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation
[UNSPECIFIED] European Union’s Horizon 2020
[UNSPECIFIED] National Key Research and Development Program of China
[UNSPECIFIED] China Scholarship Council
[UNSPECIFIED] Sino-Swiss Science Technology Cooperation
[UNSPECIFIED] Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse




Marianne Geiser Kamber

Date Deposited:

18 Dec 2019 11:56

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2019 12:03

Publisher DOI:





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