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Published June 14, 2018 | public
Journal Article

Rapid Aqueous-Phase Hydrolysis of Ester Hydroperoxides Arising from Criegee Intermediates and Organic Acids


Stabilized Criegee intermediates react with organic acids in the gas phase and at the air–water interface to form a class of ester hydroperoxides, α-acyloxyalkyl hydroperoxides (αAAHPs). A number of recent studies have proposed the importance of αAAHPs to the formation and growth of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). The chemistry of αAAHPs has not been investigated due to a lack of commercially available chemical standards. In this work, the behavior of αAAHPs in condensed phases is investigated for the first time. Experiments were performed with two synthesized αAAHP species. αAAHPs decomposed rapidly in the aqueous phase, with the rate highly dependent on the solvent, temperature, solution pH, and other compounds present in the solution. The measured 1st-order decomposition rate coefficient varied between 10^(–3) and 10^(–5) s^(–1) under the conditions examined in this work. Elucidation of the reaction mechanism is complicated by byproducts arising from the synthetic procedure, but observations are consistent with a base-catalyzed hydrolysis of αAAHPs. The rapid hydrolysis of αAAHPs observed in this work implies their short lifetimes in ambient cloud and fog waters. Decomposition of αAAHPs likely gives rise to smaller peroxides, such as H_2O_2. The loss of αAAHPs is also relevant to filter extraction, which is commonly practiced in laboratory experiments, potentially explaining contradictory results reported in the existing literature regarding the importance of αAAHPs in SOA.

Additional Information

© 2018 American Chemical Society. Received: March 5, 2018; Revised: May 16, 2018; Published: May 21, 2018. The authors thank Dwight and Christine Landis for their generous contributions and Prof. Paul Wennberg for helpful discussions. LC-ESI-MS and TOC analyses were performed in the Caltech Environmental Analysis Center (EAC). This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants AGS-1523500 and CHE-1508526. R.Z. also acknowledges support from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship (NSERC-PDF). The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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