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Characterising Particulate Organic Nitrogen at A Savannah-Grassland Region in South Africa

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Unit for Environmental Science and Management, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
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Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, PO Box 55, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Finnish Meteorological Institute, PO Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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Department of Physical Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090492
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 16 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 26 August 2019
Although atmospheric organic N compounds are considered to be important, especially in new particle formation and their contribution to brown carbon, these species are not that well understood. This can be partially attributed to their chemical complexity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the characteristics of organic N compounds utilising comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (GCxGC-TOFMS) in aerosol samples that were collected at a savanna-grassland background region and to determine the possible sources. 135 atmospheric organic N compounds were tentatively characterised and semi-quantified, which included amines, nitriles, amides, urea, pyridine derivatives, amino acids, nitro-and nitroso compounds, imines, cyanates and isocyanates, and azo compounds. Amines contributed to 51% of the semi-quantified concentrations, while nitriles, pyridine derivatives, and amides comprised 20%, 11%, and 8%, respectively, of the semi-quantified concentrations. Amines, nitriles, amides, and pyridine derivatives concentrations were higher during the dry season, which were attributed to meteorology and open biomass burning. Anthropogenic sources impacting air masses measured at Welgegund, as well as regional agricultural activities, were considered as the major sources of amines, while the regional influence of household combustion was most likely the main source of nitriles, amides, and pyridine derivatives. The other organic N species were most likely related to the influence of local and regional agricultural activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric aerosols; organic aerosols; amines; agricultural; GCxGC-TOFMS; Welgegund atmospheric aerosols; organic aerosols; amines; agricultural; GCxGC-TOFMS; Welgegund
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Booyens, W.; Van Zyl, P.G.; Beukes, J.P.; Ruiz-Jimenez, J.; Kopperi, M.; Riekkola, M.-L.; Vakkari, V.; Josipovic, M.; Kulmala, M.; Laakso, L. Characterising Particulate Organic Nitrogen at A Savannah-Grassland Region in South Africa. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 492.

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