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Organic molecular tracers for particulate air pollution sources

Cass, Glen R. (1998) Organic molecular tracers for particulate air pollution sources. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 17 (6). pp. 356-366. ISSN 0165-9936. doi:10.1016/S0165-9936(98)00040-5.

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The contribution of the major urban air pollution sources to regional particulate air quality problems can be diagnosed by using organic molecular marker techniques. Distinctive organic compounds or compound groups that are present in the emissions from some source types but not others are used to quantify the presence of the effluent from different air pollution sources within atmospheric fine particle samples. The tracer compounds are measured in source samples and in atmospheric samples by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Some of the most valuable tracers include hopanes and steranes from petroleum use in motor vehicles; phytosterols, lignans, phenolic products from lignins, and diterpenoids from resins in wood smoke; cholesterol in meat charbroiling smoke; high-molecular-weight odd carbon number n-alkanes in the particles shed as leaves rub together in the wind, and iso- and anteiso-alkanes in cigarette smoke. To date it has been demonstrated that the particles from up to nine different source types can be distinguished from each other simultaneously in the southern California atmosphere by this method. In the future, new analytical methods will increase the family of tracer compounds, assist in the identification of markers for additional sources, and speed the chemical analysis process in the laboratory.

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Additional Information:© 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. Available online 6 July 1998.
Subject Keywords:Airborne particles; Organic compounds; Molecular markers; Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160630-070550231
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Official Citation:Glen R Cass, Organic molecular tracers for particulate air pollution sources, TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 17, Issue 6, June–July 1998, Pages 356-366, ISSN 0165-9936, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:68776
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Jul 2016 21:48
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:04

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