11 Oct 2022
 | 11 Oct 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

On the formation of highly oxidized pollutants by autoxidation of terpenes under low temperature combustion conditions: the case of limonene and α-pinene

Roland Benoit, Nesrine Belhadj, Zahraa Dbouk, Maxence Lailliau, and Philippe Dagaut

Abstract. The oxidation of monoterpenes under atmospheric conditions has been the subject of numerous studies. They were motivated by the formation of oxidized organic molecules (OOM) which, due to their low vapor pressure, contribute to the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Among the different reaction mechanisms proposed for the formation of these oxidized chemical compounds, it appears that the autoxidation mechanism, involving successive events of O2 addition and H-migration, common to both low-temperature combustion and atmospheric conditions, is leading to the formation of highly oxidized products (HOPs). However, cool flame oxidation (~500–800 K) of terpenes has not received much attention even if it can contribute to atmospheric pollution through biomass burning and wildfires. Under such conditions, terpenes can be oxidized via autoxidation. In the present work, we performed oxidation experiments with limonene-oxygen-nitrogen and α-pinene-oxygen-nitrogen mixtures in a jet-stirred reactor (JSR) at 590 K, a residence time of 2 s, and atmospheric pressure. Oxidation products were analyzed by liquid chromatography, flow injection, and soft ionization-high resolution mass spectrometry. H/D exchange and 2,4-dinitrophenyl hydrazine derivatization were used to assess the presence of OOH and C=O groups in oxidation products, respectively. We probed the effects of the type of ionization used in mass spectrometry analyses on the detection of oxidation products. Heated electrospray ionization (HESI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI), in positive and negative modes were used. We built an experimental database consisting of literature data for atmospheric oxidation and presently obtained combustion data for the oxidation of the two selected terpenes. This work showed a surprisingly similar set of oxidation products chemical formulas, including oligomers, formed under the two rather different conditions, i.e., cool flame and simulated atmospheric oxidation. Data analysis indicated that a subset of chemical formulas is common to all experiments independently of experimental conditions. Finally, this study indicates that more than 45 % of the detected chemical formulas in this full dataset can be ascribed to an autoxidation reaction.

Roland Benoit et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-635', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Roland Benoit, 30 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-635', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Jan 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Roland Benoit, 31 Jan 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on acp-2022-635', Anonymous Referee #3, 12 Jan 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Roland Benoit, 31 Jan 2023

Roland Benoit et al.

Roland Benoit et al.


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Short summary
This study compares different modes of oxidation of alpha-pinene and limonene (ozonolysis, photooxidation and cool flame) based on literature articles and present experimental results. Although the oxidation conditions are totally different, the data show great similitude in terms of detected chemical formulas, but also specificities related to autoxidation. These results are presented using graphical tools adapted to the processing of large datasets.