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Published March 15, 2005 | public
Journal Article

Hygroscopicity of Water-Soluble Organic Compounds in Atmospheric Aerosols: Amino Acids and Biomass Burning Derived Organic Species


Amino acids and organic species derived from biomass burning can potentially affect the hygroscopicity and cloud condensation activities of aerosols. The hygroscopicity of seven amino acids (glycine, alanine, serine, glutamine, threonine, arginine, and asparagine) and three organic species most commonly detected in biomass burning aerosols (levoglucosan, mannosan, and galactosan) were measured using an electrodynamic balance. Crystallization was observed in the glycine, alanine, serine, glutamine, and threonine particles upon evaporation of water, while no phase transition was observed in the arginine and asparagine particles even at 5% relative humidity (RH). Water activity data from these aqueous amino acid particles, except arginine and asparagine, was used to revise the interaction parameters in UNIQUAC functional group activity coefficients to give predictions to within 15% of the measurements. Levoglucosan, mannosan, and galactosan particles did not crystallize nor did they deliquesce. They existed as highly concentrated liquid droplets at low RH, suggesting that biomass burning aerosols retain water at low RH. In addition, these particles follow a very similar pattern in hygroscopic growth. A generalized growth law (G_f = (1 − RH/100)^(-0.095)) is proposed for levoglucosan, mannosan, and galactosan particles.

Additional Information

© 2005 American Chemical Society. Received for review March 16, 2004. Revised manuscript received October 6, 2004. Accepted December 8, 2004. Publication Date (Web): February 4, 2005. This work was funded by the Earmarked Grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (HKUST6056/02P).

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