Chemical signature and fractionation of trace elements in fine particles from anthropogenic and natural sources

Feng Wu , Rujin Huang , Wei Yuan , Ting Wang , Wenjuan Cao , Ying Wang , Chunshui Lin , Lu Yang , Jie Guo , Haiyan Ni , Maofa Ge , Yujing Mu , Jianmin Chen , Min Shao , Zifa Wang


Received July 07, 2021,Revised , Accepted September 11, 2021, Available online February 22, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 365-375

The health effects of trace metal elements in atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are widely recognized, however, the emission factor profiles and chemical fractionation of metal elements in different sources were poorly understand. In this study, sixteen metal elements, including Cd, Pb, V, Zn, Ba, Sb, As, Fe, Sr, Cr, Rb, Co, Mn, Cu, Ni and Sn from biomass burning, bituminite and anthracite combustion, as well as dust, were quantified. The results show different emission sources were associated with distinct emission profiles, holding important implications for source apportionment of ambient particulate metals. Specifically, Fe was the dominant metal species (28-1922 mg/kg) for all samples, and was followed by different metals for different samples. For dust, Mn (39.9 mg/kgdust) had the second-highest emission factor, while for biomass burning, it was Cr and Ba (7.5 and 7.4 mg/kgbiomass, respectively). For bituminous coal combustion, the emission factor of Zn and Ba was 6.2 and 6.0 mg/kgbituminous, respectively, while for anthracite combustion the corresponding emission factor was 5.6 and 4.3 mg/kganthracite, respectively. Moreover, chemical fractionation (i.e., the exchangeable, reducible fraction, oxidizable, and residual fraction) and the bioavailability index (BI) values of the metal elements from different sources were further investigated to reveal the link between different emission sources and the potential health risk. The findings from this study hold important implications for source apportionment and source-specific particulate metal-associated health effects.

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