Case study of water-soluble metal containing organic constituents of biomass burning aerosol

Alexandra L. Chang-Graham, Luisa T.M. Profeta, Timothy J. Johnson, Robert J. Yokelson, Alexander Laskin, Julia Laskin

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44 Scopus citations


Natural and prescribed biomass fires are a major source of aerosols that may persist in the atmosphere for several weeks. Biomass burning aerosols (BBA) can be associated with long-range transport of water-soluble N-, S-, P-, and metal-containing species. In this study, BBA samples were collected using a particle-into-liquid sampler (PILS) from laboratory burns of vegetation collected on military bases in the southeastern and southwestern United States. The samples were then analyzed using high resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI/HR-MS) that enabled accurate mass measurements for hundreds of species with m/z values between 70 and 1000 and assignment of elemental formulas. Mg, Al, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Ba-containing organometallic species were identified. The results suggest that the biomass may have accumulated metal-containing species that were re-emitted during biomass burning. Further research into the sources, dispersion, and persistence of metal-containing aerosols, as well as their environmental effects, is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1263
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2011


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