Seasonal variation of high-molecular-weight compounds in the water-soluble fraction of organic urban aerosols

Samburova, V.; Szidat, Sönke; Hueglin, C.; Fisseha, R.; Baltensperger, U.; Zenobi, R.; Kalberer, M. (2005). Seasonal variation of high-molecular-weight compounds in the water-soluble fraction of organic urban aerosols. Journal of geophysical research, 110(D23), D23210. American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2005JD005910

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Aerosol samples were collected in Zurich, Switzerland, at an urban background site and were analyzed with size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and laser/desorption ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS) for water-soluble organic compounds with high molecular weight. Daily samples were collected during two campaigns in winter and summer, for 1 month each. The concentration of high-molecular-weight compounds (humic-like substances (HULIS)) was between 0.4 and 4 μg/m3 in winter and summer. The most intense signals in the LDI-MS mass spectra were measured between m/z150 and 500, comparing well with the mode of the two main high mass peaks determined with SEC corresponding to masses between 200 and 600 Da. For the maximum molecular weight, however, different results were obtained by the two techniques: whereas a maximum molecular weight between 1300 and 3300 Da was found with SEC, hardly any peaks above m/z700 were measured with LDI-MS. During summer the maximum molecular weight of HULIS (determined with SEC) correlates positively with several parameters such as ozone and increased temperature indicative of enhanced atmospheric photo-oxidation. The HULIS concentration also correlates positively with the oxalic acid concentration in the particles. This suggests that HULIS are generated by secondary processes in summer. The lack of such correlations during winter suggests that other sources and processes might be important during colder seasons.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Szidat, Sönke


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




American Geophysical Union




Sönke Szidat

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2016 13:21

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:51

Publisher DOI:





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