Insights into reactive oxygen species formation induced by water-soluble organic compounds and transition metals using spectroscopic method

Yang Zhang , Tianyi Zhao , Yu Yan , Bian Zhou , Xuezhen Zhong , Xiaoyu Hu , Lijia Zhang , Peng Huo , Kang Xiao , Yuanxun Zhang


Received November 02, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 11, 2022, Available online February 27, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 835-845

Ambient particulate matter (PM) can cause adverse health effects via their ability to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Water-Soluble Organic Compounds (WSOCs), a complex mixture of organic compounds which usually coexist with Transition Metals (TMs) in PM, have been found to contribute to ROS formation. However, the interaction between WSOCs and TMs and its effect on ROS generation are still unknown. In this study, we examined the ROS concentrations of V, Zn, Suwannee River Fulvic Acid (SRFA), Suwannee River Humic Acid (SRHA) and the mixtures of V/Zn and SRFA/SRHA by using a cell-free 2′,7′-Dichlorodihydrofluorescein (DCFH) assay. The results showed that V or Zn synergistically promoted ROS generated by SRFA, but had an antagonistic effect on ROS generated by SRHA. Fluorescence quenching experiments indicated that V and Zn were more prone to form stable complexes with aromatic humic acid-like component (C1) and fulvic acid-like component (C3) in SRFA and SRHA. Results suggested that the underlying mechanism involving the fulvic acid-like component in SRFA more tending to complex with TMs to facilitate ROS generation through π electron transfer. Our work showed that the complexing ability and complexing stability of atmospheric PM organics with metals could significantly affect ROS generation. It is recommended that the research deploying multiple analytical methods to quantify the impact of PM components on public health and environment is needed in the future.

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