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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  29 Jan 2020

29 Jan 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Importance of SOA formation of α-pinene, limonene and m-cresol comparing day-and night-time radical chemistry

Anke Mutzel1, Yanli Zhang1,2, Olaf Böge1, Maria Rodigast1,a, Agata Kolodziejczyk3, Xinming Wang2, and Hartmut Herrmann1 Anke Mutzel et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Atmospheric Chemistry Department (ACD), Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Protection and Resources Utilization, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • 3Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-224 Warsaw, Poland
  • anow at: Indulor Chemie GmbH & Co. KG Produktionsgesellschaft Bitterfeld, 06749 Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany

Abstract. The oxidation of biogenic and anthropogenic compounds leads to the formation of secondary organic aerosol mass (SOA). The present study aims to investigate α-pinene, limonene and m-cresol with regards to their SOA formation potential dependent on relative humidity (RH) under night- (NO3 radicals) and day-time conditions (OH radicals) and the resulting chemical composition. It was found that SOA formation potential of limonene with NO3 significantly exceeds the one of the OH radical reaction, with SOA yields of 15–30 % and 10–21 %, respectively. Additionally, the nocturnal SOA yield was found to be very sensitive towards RH, yielding more SOA under dry conditions. On the contrary, the SOA formation potential of α-pinene with NO3 slightly exceeds that of the OH radical reaction, independent from RH. In average, α-pinene yielded SOA with about 6–7 % from NO3 radicals and 3–4 % from OH radical reaction. Surprisingly, unexpected high SOA yields were found for m-cresol oxidation with OH radicals (3–9 %) with the highest yield under elevated RH (9 %) which is most likely attributed to a higher fraction of 3-methyl-6-nitro-catechol (MNC). While α-pinene and m-cresol SOA was found to be mainly composed of water-soluble compounds, 50–68 % of nocturnal SOA and 22–39 % of daytime limonene SOA is water-insoluble. The fraction of SOA-bound peroxides which originated from α-pinene varied between 2–80 % as a function of RH.

Furthermore, SOA from α-pinene revealed pinonic acid as the most important particle-phase constituent under day- and night-time conditions with fraction of 1–4 %. Further compounds detected are norpinonic acid (0.05–1.1 % mass fraction), terpenylic acid (0.1–1.1 % mass fraction), pinic acid (0.1–1.8 % mass fraction) and 3-methyl-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid (0.05–0.5 % mass fraction). All marker compounds showed higher fractions under dry conditions when formed during daytime and almost no RH effect when formed during night.

Anke Mutzel et al.

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Anke Mutzel et al.

Anke Mutzel et al.


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Short summary
This study investigates SOA formation and particle growth from α-pinene, limonene and m-cresol oxidation through NO3 and OH radicals and the effect of relative humidity. The formed SOA is comprehensively characterized with respect to the content of OC/EC, WSOC, SOA-bound peroxides and SOA marker compounds. The findings present new insights and implications of night-time chemistry which can form SOA more efficiently than OH radical reaction during day-time.
This study investigates SOA formation and particle growth from α-pinene, limonene and m-cresol...