Primary source attribution and analysis of α-pinene photooxidation products in Duke Forest, North Carolina

Shagun Bhat, Matthew P. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Samples of fine particulate organic matter were collected outside Durham, NC in the Duke Research Forest as part of the CELTIC study in July 2003. Particulate samples were collected on quartz filters using high volume air sampling equipment, and samples were analyzed for polar and non-polar organic species. Among compounds analyzed, oxidation products of α-pinene, namely pinic acid and pinonic acid, were identified in all samples. Pinic acid, being a dicarboxylic acid, has a low vapor pressure of the order of 10-8 Torr and is expected to contribute significantly to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from the oxidation of α-pinene. Source contribution estimates from primary organic aerosol emissions were computed using the organic species as molecular markers with the chemical mass balance (CMB) model. The unapportioned organic carbon (OC) was determined as the difference between measured OC and OC apportioned to primary sources. This unapportioned OC was then correlated with pinic and pinonic acid to get a better understanding of the role of monoterpene oxidation products to form SOA. A reasonably good fit between pinic acid concentrations and unapportioned OC levels is indicative of the contribution of α-pinene oxidation products to SOA formation in ambient atmosphere. The results are significant considering the role of monoterpene emissions to global atmospheric chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2958-2966
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number14
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Molecular markers
  • Organic speciation
  • PM2.5
  • Source attribution
  • α-pinene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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