Characterisation of solvent extractable organic constituents in atmospheric particulate matter: an overview
Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências
In spite of accounting for 10-70% of the atmospheric aerosol mass, particulate-phase organic compounds are not well characterised, and many aspects of aerosol formation and evolution are still unknown. The growing awareness of the impact of particulate aerosols on climate, and the incompletely recognised but serious effects of anthropogenic constituents on air quality and human health, have conducted to several scientific studies. These investigations have provided information about the
... n about the behaviour of atmospheric particulate matter and the description of the character of its carbonaceous content. The compilation of such results is important as they append to the emergent global-wide dataset of the organic composition of atmospheric aerosols. The contribution of the major emission sources to regional particulate pollution can be diagnosed by using specific molecular markers. This overview is mainly focused on results obtained with gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, since it is the analytical method of choice in elucidating the solvent-extractable organic compounds in atmospheric particulate matter. A synopsis of the selection of organic tracers and the application of geochemical parameters to the analysis of organic constituents as a tool for source apportionment is shown here. Besides the assessment of current knowledge, this paper also presents the identification of further areas of concern.