Reactive Oxygen Species Formed by Secondary Organic Aerosols in Water and Surrogate Lung Fluid

Haijie Tong, Pascale S.J. Lakey, Andrea M. Arangio, Joanna Socorro, Fangxia Shen, Kurt Lucas, William H. Brune, Ulrich Pöschl, Manabu Shiraiwa

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a central role in adverse health effects of air pollutants. Respiratory deposition of fine air particulate matter can lead to the formation of ROS in epithelial lining fluid, potentially causing oxidative stress and inflammation. Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) account for a large fraction of fine particulate matter, but their role in adverse health effects is unclear. Here, we quantify and compare the ROS yields and oxidative potential of isoprene, β-pinene, and naphthalene SOA in water and surrogate lung fluid (SLF). In pure water, isoprene and β-pinene SOA were found to produce mainly OH and organic radicals, whereas naphthalene SOA produced mainly H2O2 and O2•-. The total molar yields of ROS of isoprene and β-pinene SOA were 11.8% and 8.2% in water and decreased to 8.5% and 5.2% in SLF, which can be attributed to ROS removal by lung antioxidants. A positive correlation between the total peroxide concentration and ROS yield suggests that organic (hydro)peroxides may play an important role in ROS formation from biogenic SOA. The total molar ROS yields of naphthalene SOA was 1.7% in water and increased to 11.3% in SLF. This strong increase is likely due to redox reaction cycles involving environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFR) or semiquinones, antioxidants, and oxygen, which may promote the formation of H2O2 and the adverse health effects of anthropogenic SOA from aromatic precursors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11642-11651
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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