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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-4
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-4
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Feb 2019

Research article | 25 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Determination of n-alkanes, PAHs and hopanes in atmospheric aerosol: evaluation and comparison of thermal desorption GC-MS and solvent extraction GC-MS approaches

Meng Wang1,2,3, Ru-Jin Huang1,2, Junji Cao1,2, Wenting Dai1,2, Jiamao Zhou1,2, Chunshui Lin1,2, Haiyan Ni1,2, Jing Duan1,2, Ting Wang1,2, Yang Chen4, Yongjie Li5, Qi Chen6, Imad El Haddad7, and Thorsten Hoffmann8 Meng Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology (SKLLQG) and Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics (KLACP), Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
  • 2CAS Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Xi'an, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710061, China
  • 3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 4Key Laboratory of Reservoir Aquatic Environment of CAS, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing 400714, China
  • 5Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China
  • 6State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 7Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
  • 8Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz,Duesbergweg 10–14, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Organic aerosol (OA) constitutes a large fraction of fine particulate matter (PM) in the urban air. However, the chemical nature and sources of OA are not well constrained. Quantitative analysis of OA is essential for understanding the sources and atmospheric evolution of fine PM, which requires accurate quantification of some organic compounds (e.g., markers). In this study, two analytical approaches, i.e., thermal desorption (TD) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and solvent extract (SE) GC-MS were evaluated for the determination of n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and hopanes in ambient aerosol. For the SE approach, the recovery obtained is 89.3–101.5 %, the limits of detection (LOD) are 0.05–1.1 ng (1.5–33.9 ng m−3), repeatability is 3.5–14.5 % and reproducibility is 1.2–10.9 %. For the TD approach, the recovery is 57.2–109.8 %, the LODs are 0.1–1.9 ng (0.04–0.9 ng m−3), repeatability is 2.1–19.4 % and reproducibility is 1.1–12.9 %. Ambient aerosol samples were collected from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, during the winter of 2013 and were analyzed by the two methods. After considering the recoveries, the two methods show a good agreement with a high correlation efficient (R2 > 0.98) and a slope close to unity. The concentrations of n-alkanes, PAHs, and hopanes are found to be much higher in Beijing than those in Chengdu, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, most likely due to emissions from coal combustion for wintertime heating in Beijing.

Meng Wang et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Meng Wang et al.
Meng Wang et al.
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Short summary
The analytical performances of SE/GC-MS and TD/GC-MS for the determination of n-alkanes, PAHs and hopanes were evaluated and compared. The two methods show a good agreement with a high correlation efficient (R2 > 0.98) and a slope close to unity. The concentrations of n-alkanes, PAHs, and hopanes are found to be much higher in Beijing than those in Chengdu, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, most likely due to emissions from coal combustion for wintertime heating in Beijing.
The analytical performances of SE/GC-MS and TD/GC-MS for the determination of n-alkanes, PAHs...
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