Trimethylsilyl derivatives of organic compounds in source samples and in atmospheric fine particulate matter.

Environmental science & technology

PubMedID: 12387398

Nolte CG, Schauer JJ, Cass GR, Simoneit BR. Trimethylsilyl derivatives of organic compounds in source samples and in atmospheric fine particulate matter. Environ Sci Technol. 2002;36(20):4273-81.
Source sample extracts of vegetative detritus, motor vehicle exhaust, tire dust paved road dust, and cigarette smoke have been silylated and analyzed by GC-MS to identify polar organic compounds that may serve as tracers for those specific emission sources of atmospheric fine particulate matter. Candidate molecular tracers were also identified in atmospheric fine particle samples collected in the San Joaquin Valley of California. A series of normal primary alkanols, dominated by even carbon-numbered homologues from C26 to C32, the secondary alcohol 10-nonacosanol, and some phytosterols are prominent polar compounds in the vegetative detritus source sample. No new polar organic compounds are found in the motor vehicle exhaust samples. Several hydrogenated resin acids are present in the tire dust sample, which might serve as useful tracers for those sources in areas that are heavily impacted by motor vehicle traffic. Finally, the alcohol and sterol emission profiles developed for all the source samples examined in this project are scaled according to the ambient fine particle mass concentrations attributed to those sources by a chemical mass balance receptor model that was previously applied to the San Joaquin Valley to compute the predicted atmospheric concentrations of individual alcohols and sterols. The resulting underprediction of alkanol concentrations at the urban sites suggests that alkanols may be more sensitive tracers for natural background from vegetative emissions (i.e., waxes) than the high molecular weight alkanes, which have been the best previously available tracers for that source.