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Title: Mass-spectrometric identification of primary biological particle markers and application to pristine submicron aerosol measurements in Amazonia
Authors: Schneider, J.Freutel, F.Zorn, S. R.Chen, Q.Farmer, D. K.Jimenez, J. L.Martin, S. T.Artaxo, P.Wiedensohler, A.Borrmann, S.
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Issue Date: 2011
Published in: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Volume 11, Issue 22, Page 11415-11429
Publisher: München : European Geopyhsical Union
Abstract: The detection of primary biological material in submicron aerosol by means of thermal desorption/electron impact ionization aerosol mass spectrometry was investigated. Mass spectra of amino acids, carbohydrates, small peptides, and proteins, all of which are key building blocks of biological particles, were recorded in laboratory experiments. Several characteristic marker fragments were identified. The intensity of the marker signals relative to the total organic mass spectrum allows for an estimation of the content of primary biological material in ambient organic aerosol. The developed method was applied to mass spectra recorded during AMAZE-08, a field campaign conducted in the pristine rainforest of the central Amazon Basin, Brazil, during the wet season of February and March 2008. The low abundance of identified marker fragments places upper limits of 7.5% for amino acids and 5.6% for carbohydrates on the contribution of primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) to the submicron organic aerosol mass concentration during this time period. Upper limits for the absolute submicron concentrations for both compound classes range from 0.01 to 0.1 μg m−3. Carbohydrates and proteins (composed of amino acids) make up for about two thirds of the dry mass of a biological cell. Thus, our findings suggest an upper limit for the PBAP mass fraction of about 20% to the submicron organic aerosol measured in Amazonia during AMAZE-08.
Keywords: aerosol; amino acid; biomarker; carbohydrate; mass spectrometry; protein; rainforest
DDC: 550
License: CC BY 3.0 Unported
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