Biogenic volatile organic compound emission patterns and secondary pollutant formation potentials of dominant greening trees in Chengdu, southwest China

Yunchun Li , Liping Liu , Barnabas C. Seyler , Hefan Liu , Li Zhou , Dongyang Chen , Song Liu , Chang Yan , Fumo Yang , Danlin Song , Qinwen Tan , Fengju Jia , Cheng Feng , Qiuwei Wang , Maofa Ge , Yujing Mu , Jianmin Chen , Min Shao , Zifa Wang


Received May 31, 2021,Revised , Accepted August 11, 2021, Available online January 15, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 179-193

Integral to the urban ecosystem, greening trees provide many ecological benefits, but the active biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) they release contribute to the production of ozone and secondary organic aerosols, which harm ambient air quality. It is, therefore, necessary to understand the BVOC emission characteristics of dominant greening tree species and their relative contribution to secondary pollutants in various urban contexts. Consequently, this study utilized a dynamic enclosure system to collect BVOC samples of seven dominant greening tree species in urban Chengdu, Southwest China. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to analyze the BVOC components and standardized BVOC emission rates of each tree species were then calculated to assess their relative potential to form secondary pollutants. We found obvious differences in the composition of BVOCs emitted by each species. Ficus virens displayed a high isoprene emission rate at 31.472 μgC/(gdw (g dry weight)•hr), while Cinnamomum camphora emitted high volumes of D-Limonene at 93.574 μgC/(gdw•hr). In terms of the BVOC emission rates by leaf area, C. camphora had the highest emission rate of total BVOCs at 13,782.59 μgC/(m2•hr), followed by Cedrus deodara with 5466.86 μgC/(m2•hr). Ginkgo biloba and Osmanthus fragrans mainly emitted oxygenated VOCs with lower overall emission rates. The high BVOC emitters like F. virens, C. camphora, and Magnolia grandiflora have high potential for significantly contributing to environmental secondary pollutants, so should be cautiously considered for future planting. This study provides important implications for improving urban greening efforts for subtropical Chinese urban contexts, like Chengdu.

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