An enhanced procedure for measuring organic acids and methyl esters in PM2.5

F. Liu, F. Duan, K. He, Y. Ma, K. A. Rahn, Q. Zhang
2015 Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions  
We have developed an enhanced analytical procedure to measure organic acids and methyl esters in fine aerosol with much greater specificity and sensitivity than previously available. This capability is important because of these species and their low concentrations, even in highly polluted atmospheres like Beijing, China. The procedure first separates the acids and esters from the other organic compounds with anion-exchange solid- phase extraction (SPE), then, quantifies them by gas
more » ... by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. This allows us to accurately quantify the C4-C11 dicarboxylic and the C8-C30 monocarboxylic acids. Then the acids are separated from the esters on an aminopropyl SPE cartridge, whose weak retention isolates and enriches the acids from esters prevents the fatty acids and dimethyl phthalate from being overestimated. The resulting correlations between the aliphatic acids and fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) suggest that FAMEs had sources similar to those of the carboxylic acids, or were formed by esterifying carboxylic acids, or that aliphatic acids were formed by hydrolyzing FAMEs. In all, 17 aromatic acids were identified and quantified using this procedure coupled with gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, including the five polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) acids 2-naphthoic, biphenyl-4-carboxylic, 9-oxo-9H-fluorene-1-carboxylic, biphenyl-4,4´-dicarboxylic, and phenanthrene-1-carboxylic acid, plus 1,8-naphthalic anhydride. Correlations between the PAH-acids and the dicarboxylic and aromatic acids indicated that the first three acids and 1,8-naphthalic anhydride were mainly secondary, the last two mainly primary.
doi:10.5194/amtd-8-2379-2015 fatcat:c4vmpvz4xffo5eohkk7folqige