Molecular markers of biomass burning, fungal spores and biogenic SOA in the Taklimakan desert aerosols

Pingqing Fu, Guoshun Zhuang, Yele Sun, Qiongzhen Wang, Jing Chen, Lujie Ren, Fan Yang, Zifa Wang, Xiaole Pan, Xiangdong Li, Kimitaka Kawamura

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Biogenic primary organic aerosols (POA) and secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are important organic constituents of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). In order to better understand the atmospheric abundances, molecular compositions and sources of the desert aerosols, biomass-burning tracers (e.g. levoglucosan), primary saccharides including fungal spore tracers, and SOA tracers from the oxidation of biogenic volatile organic compounds (e.g. isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpene) have been studied in ambient aerosols from the Taklimakan desert, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results showed that the total concentrations of biomass-burning tracers at Hetian (177-359 ng m-3, mean 233 ng m-3in PM2.5) in the south rim of the desert were much higher than those at Tazhong (1.9-8.8 ng m-3in PM2.5and 5.9-32 ng m-3in TSP) in the central Taklimakan desert. Molecular markers of fungal spores were also detected in all the desert aerosols, highlighting the importance of primary bioaerosols in the Asian dust particles. A specific pattern of the dominance of 2-methylglyceric acid over 2-methyltetrols and C5-alkene triols was found in the Taklimakan desert aerosols, especially during the dust storm events, which is different from the 2-methyltetrols-dominated pattern in other ambient aerosols. Our results provide direct evidence on the biogenic POA and SOA tracers in the Taklimakan desert region, which help to better understand their impact on the aerosol chemistry in the down-wind regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-73
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • 2-Methyltetrols
  • Asian dust
  • Biomass burning
  • Fungal spore
  • Taklimakan desert

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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