Emission characteristics, sources, and airborne fate of speciated organics in particulate matters in a Hong Kong residence

Yunxi Huo, Hai Guo (Corresponding Author), Xiaopu Lyu, Dawen Yao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A growing number of studies warn of the adverse health effects of indoor particulate matters (PM). However, little is known about the molecular compositions and emission characteristics of PM-bound organics (OM) indoors, a critical group of species with highest concentration and complexity in indoor PM. In a Hong Kong residence where prescribed activities were performed with normal frequency and intensity, we found that the activities significantly elevated not only the total concentration but also the fraction of OM in indoor PM. However, the concentration of the total PM-bound OM outdoors (10.3 ± 0.7 μg/m3) surpassed that for the indoor counterpart during the undisturbed period (8.2 ± 0.1 μg/m3), that is, period when there was no activity with high emission of PM but the residual effects of previous activities might remain. Emissions of indoor activities involving combustion or high-temperature processes significantly elevated the indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) ratios for a majority of organic species. In addition, gas-to-particle partitioning, secondary formation, carrying-over (residues of pollutants in the air), and re-emission also modulated the I/O ratios of some compounds. Chemically comprehensive emission profiles of speciated organics were obtained for 5 indoor activities in the residence. While the indoor contribution to PM-bound OM was estimated to be not higher than 13.1% during the undisturbed period, carrying-over and/or re-emission seemed to exist for certain compounds emitted from cigarette smoking and incense burning. This study enhances knowledge on emissions and airborne fate of speciated organics in indoor PM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13017
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • emission profile
  • indoor air quality
  • indoor-to-outdoor ratio
  • organic compounds
  • particulate matters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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