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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1197
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Jan 2018

Research article | 08 Jan 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Synthesis and characterization of peroxypinic acids as proxies for highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) in secondary organic aerosol

Sarah S. Steimer1, Aurélie Delvaux1, Steven J. Campbell1, Peter J. Gallimore1, Dominik Pitton2, Thorsten Hoffmann2, and Markus Kalberer1 Sarah S. Steimer et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1EW, UK
  • 2Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, University of Mainz, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Peroxy acids might contribute significantly to particle toxicity and were recently found to be involved in new particle formation in the atmosphere. However, a lack of suitable analytical methods for the detection and characterization of peroxy acids in the particle phase is currently hindering the quantitative investigation of their contribution to these important atmospheric processes. Further development of appropriate techniques and relevant standards is therefore urgently needed. In this study, we synthesized three peroxypinic acids, developed a liquid chromatography separation method and characterised them with tandem mass spectrometry. The observed fragmentation patterns clearly distinguish the different peroxypinic acids from both the acid and each other, showing several neutral losses previously already observed for other peroxy acids. Both monoperoxypinic acids were found to be present in secondary organic aerosol generated from ozonolysis of α-pinene in laboratory experiments. The yield of monoperoxypinic acid formation was not influenced by humidity. Monoperoxypinic acid quickly degrades on the filter, with about 60% lost within the first 5 hours. This fast degradation shows that time delays in traditional off-line analysis will likely lead to severe underestimates of peroxy compound concentrations in ambient particles.

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Sarah S. Steimer et al.
Sarah S. Steimer et al.
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Latest update: 15 Jul 2018
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Short summary
Aerosol particles are a major public health concern, but particle properties contributing to their toxicity are not well known. Oxidising components such as peroxy acids might contribute significantly to particle toxicity. However, there is a lack of analytical methods for their characterization. We synthesized three peroxy acids, developed an analysis method and showed that these peroxy acids quickly degrade, likely leading to underestimation of their concentration in conventional analyses.
Aerosol particles are a major public health concern, but particle properties contributing to...
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