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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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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.

  21 Oct 2020

21 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Chemical and microbiological characterization of primary biological aerosol particles at the boreal forest

Jose Ruiz-Jimenez1,5, Magdalena Okuljar1,5, Outi-Maaria Sietiö2,3,4, Giorgia Demaria1, Thanaporn Liangsupree1, Elisa Zagatti1, Juho Aalto4, Kari Hartonen1,5, Jussi Heinonsalo3, Jaana Bäck4, Tuukka Petäjä5, and Marja-Liisa Riekkola1,5 Jose Ruiz-Jimenez et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, P.O. Box 55, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Microbiology, P.O. Box 56, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, Faculty of Science, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) play an important role in the interaction between biosphere, atmosphere and climate, affecting cloud and precipitation formation processes. The contribution of pollen, plant fragments, spores, bacteria, algae and viruses to PBAPs is well known. In order to explore the complex interrelationships between airborne and particulate chemical traces (amino acids, saccharides), gene copy numbers, gas phase chemistry and the particle size distribution, 84 size-segregated aerosol samples from four particle size fractions (< 1.0, 1.0–2.5 µm, 2.5–10 µm and > 10 µm) were collected at SMEAR II station, Finland in autumn 2017. The gene copy numbers and size distribution of bacteria, Pseudomonas and fungi in PBAPs were determined by DNA extraction and amplification. In addition, free amino acids (19) and saccharides (8) were analyzed in aerosol samples by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography -mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS). Different machine learning (ML) approaches, such as cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, neural network and multiple linear regression (MLR) were used for the clarification of several aspects related to the PBAPs composition. Clear variations were observed for the composition of PBAPs as a function of the particle size. In most cases, the highest concentration values, gene copy numbers in the case of microbes, were observed for 2.5–10 µm particles followed by > 10 µm, 1–2.5 µm and < 1.0 µm. In addition, different variables related to the air and soil temperature, the UV radiation and the amount of water in the soil affected the composition of PBAPs. From the used ML approaches, especially MLR clearly improved the results achieved by classical statistical approaches such as Pearson correlation. In all the cases, the explained variance was over 91 %. The great variability of the samples hindered the clarification of common patterns in the evaluation of the influence of microbes on the chemical composition of PBAPs. Finally, positive correlations were observed between the gas phase VOCs, such as acetone, toluene, methanol, 2‐methyl‐3‐buten‐2‐ol, and the gene copy numbers of the microbes in PBAPs.

Jose Ruiz-Jimenez et al.

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Jose Ruiz-Jimenez et al.

Jose Ruiz-Jimenez et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Chemical compounds and microbes were determined in aerosol particles collected at Hyytiälä forestry field station in Finland. These results, and other data collected, clarified relationships between the aerosol composition and the particle size, effects of atmospheric, meteorological and environmental parameters on aerosol composition, presence of chemicals originating from microbes in aerosols, and connections between gas phase compounds in air and microbiological composition of aerosols.
Chemical compounds and microbes were determined in aerosol particles collected at Hyytiälä...