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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1071
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1071
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Oct 2018

Research article | 11 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Composition and light absorption of nitroaromatic compounds in organic aerosols from laboratory biomass burning

Mingjie Xie1,2,3,4, Xi Chen4, Michael D. Hays4, and Amara L. Holder4 Mingjie Xie et al.
  • 1Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, 219 Ningliu Road, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2State Key Labo ratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 3Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Pak, NC 27711, USA
  • 4National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Pak, NC 27711, USA

Abstract. This study seeks to understand the compositional details of nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) emitted during biomass burning (BB) and their contribution to light-absorbing organic carbon (OC), also termed brown carbon (BrC). Three laboratory BB experiments were conducted with two U.S. pine forest understory fuels typical of those consumed during prescribed fires. During the experiments, submicron aerosol particles were collected on filter media and subsequently extracted with methanol and examined for their optical and chemical properties. Significant correlations (p < 0.05) were observed between BrC absorption and elemental carbon (EC)/OC ratios for test specific data. However, the pooled experimental data indicated that the BB BrC absorption depends on more than the BB fire conditions as represented by the EC/OC ratio. Fourteen NACs were identified in the BB samples, four of which (C10H11NO4, C10H11NO5, C11H13NO5 and C11H13NO6) have not been observed previously in chamber-based secondary organic aerosols, and are expected to have methoxyphenol-type structure specific to the pyrolized biomass lignin based on mass spectral evidence, suggesting these compounds may be unique to BB aerosols. The average total contribution of NACs to organic mass (0.023 ± 0.0089 to 0.18 ± 0.067%) was 5–10 times lower than the average contribution to the overall BrC absorption at 365nm (0.12 ± 0.047 to 2.44 ± 0.67%). The average contributions (%) of total NACs to organic mass and aqueous extracts absorption correlated significantly (p < 0.05) with EC/OC for both test specific and pooled experimental data. These results suggested that the formation of NACs from BB depended more on burn conditions than the bulk absorptive properties of BB BrC.

Mingjie Xie et al.
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Short summary
We did a comprehensive work on understanding the composition and structural information of nitroaromatic compounds (NACs), and their contributions to organic matter and bulk extracts absorption of biomass burning (BB) aerosols. Some NACs with methoxyphenol-type structure specific to the pyrolized biomass lignin were identified. The general implication is that the formation of NACs during BB might depend largely on burn conditions, and is less impacted by fuel types and/or ambient conditions.
We did a comprehensive work on understanding the composition and structural information of...
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