Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
01 Feb 2010
 | 01 Feb 2010

Secondary organic material formed by methylglyoxal in aqueous aerosol mimics

N. Sareen, A. N. Schwier, E. L. Shapiro, D. Mitroo, and V. F. McNeill

Abstract. We show that methylglyoxal forms light-absorbing secondary organic material in aqueous ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate solutions mimicking tropospheric aerosol particles. The kinetics were characterized using UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The results suggest that the bimolecular reaction of methylglyoxal with an ammonium or hydronium ion is the rate-limiting step for the formation of light-absorbing species, with kNH4+II=5×10−6 M−1 min−1 and kH3O+II≤10−3 M−1 min−1. Evidence of aldol condensation products and oligomeric species up to 759 amu was found using chemical ionization mass spectrometry with a volatilization flow tube inlet (Aerosol-CIMS). Tentative identifications of carbon-nitrogen species and a sulfur-containing compound were also made using Aerosol-CIMS. Aqueous solutions of methylglyoxal, with and without inorganic salts, exhibit significant surface tension depression. These observations add to the growing body of evidence that dicarbonyl compounds may form secondary organic material in the aerosol aqueous phase, and that secondary organic aerosol formation via heterogeneous processes may affect seed aerosol properties.

Final-revised paper