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Open AccessArticle

Human Breathable Air in a Mediterranean Forest: Characterization of Monoterpene Concentrations under the Canopy

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Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Z Building, ICTA-ICP, Carrer de les columnes, UAB Campus, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), 08193 Barcelona, Spain
2
Environment and Human Health Laboratory (EH2 Lab), Forest Science and Technology Center of Catalonia, Crta. de St. Llorenç de Morunys, km 2, 25280 Solsona, Spain
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CREAF, Campus Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
4
CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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Forest Science and Technology Center of Catalonia, Crta. de St. Llorenç de Morunys, km 2, 25280 Solsona, Spain
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Geography Department, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), B Building, UAB Campus, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), 08193 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4391; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124391
Received: 14 May 2020 / Revised: 8 June 2020 / Accepted: 16 June 2020 / Published: 18 June 2020
Monoterpenes have been identified as potential determinants of the human health effects induced by forest exposure. The present study characterizes the total monoterpene concentrations at nose height in a Mediterranean Holm oak forest located in North-East Iberian Peninsula during the annual emission peak (summer and autumn: June to November) using a Proton Transfer Reaction–Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS). Results show a strong variability of the total monoterpene concentrations in season and daytime. The concentration peak appears during July and August. These two months displayed two average maxima in their diel cycles: One during early morning (from 6:00 to 8:00, 0.30 ppbv for July and 0.41 ppbv for August) and another one at early afternoon (from 13:00 to 15:00, 0.27 ppbv during July and 0.32 ppbv during August). Monoterpene concentrations were strongly related with the temperature (exponentially) and solar radiation (rectangular hyperbolic relationship). The concentrations registered here are similar or higher than in previous ex situ studies showcasing the effects of forests on human health. These findings provide relevant data for the scientific and healthcare community by improving the understanding of monoterpene dynamics at nose height and suggesting further research on the effects of forests on human health, particularly in the Mediterranean region. View Full-Text
Keywords: monoterpenes; forest exposure; PTR-MS; forest chemistry; BVOCs; forest bathing monoterpenes; forest exposure; PTR-MS; forest chemistry; BVOCs; forest bathing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bach, A.; Yáñez-Serrano, A.M.; Llusià, J.; Filella, I.; Maneja, R.; Penuelas, J. Human Breathable Air in a Mediterranean Forest: Characterization of Monoterpene Concentrations under the Canopy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4391.

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