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Published May 15, 2001 | public
Journal Article

Highly Polar Organic Compounds Present in Wood Smoke and in the Ambient Atmosphere


Fine particulate matter emitted during wood combustion is known to contribute a significant fraction of the total fine aerosol concentration in the atmosphere of both urban and rural areas. In the present study, additional organic compounds that may act as wood smoke tracers in the atmosphere are sought. Polar organic compounds in wood smoke fine particulate matter are converted to their trimethylsilyl derivatives and analyzed by gas chromatog raphy/mass spectrometry. Silylation enables the detection of n-alkanols, plant sterols, and a number of compounds derived from wood lignin that have not previously been reported in wood smoke samples, as well as levoglucosan and related sugar anhydrides formed during the combustion of cellulose. The concentrations of these compounds measured in source emissions are compared to the concentrations in atmospheric fine particle samples collected at a rural background site and at two urban sites in California's San Joaquin Valley. On the basis of this analysis, the sugar anhydrides galactosan and mannosan can be listed along with levoglucosan as being among the most abundant organic compounds detected in all samples.

Additional Information

© 2001 American Chemical Society. Received for review June 27, 2000. Revised manuscript received December 7, 2000. Accepted December 19, 2000. This research was supported by the Electric Power Research Institute under Agreement RP3189-03 and in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under EPA Grant R826233-01-0 (California Institute of Technology).

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