Characterization and source apportionment of water soluble nitrogen-containing organic compounds in PM2.5 samples collected in Hong Kong

Project: Research project

Project Details


Characterization and source apportionment of water soluble nitrogen-containing organic compounds in PM2.5 samples collected in Hong Kong.

Organic nitrogen (ON) is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and it accounts for 7-39% of total N in PM globally. Water soluble nitrogen-containing organic compounds (NOCs) are considered as a significant component of water soluble organic matter in fine aerosols, and they have a very complex chemical composition. Studies on the detailed descriptions of their molecular structures, sources, and chemical transformations in the atmosphere are still limited. In this project, we propose to identify and quantify water soluble NOCs, such as amines, amino acids, urea, amides, nitro-phenolic compounds and organic nitrates, in 61 PM2.5 samples collected in Hong Kong during a one-year long period. Different analytical techniques using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, and liquid chromatography systems coupled to ion trap and triple quadruple tandem mass spectrometry will be developed and optimized. Contributions of individual primary and secondary sources to water soluble ON and ON in HULIS fraction will be estimated using positive matrix factorization with selected NOCs markers and some primary and secondary organic aerosol markers as the input species in the model. Seasonal variations of water soluble NOCs and factors influencing their levels in ambient aerosols, such as the origin of air masses, aerosol acidity, meteorological conditions, and major gaseous oxidants, will be investigated. Results from this study will provide improved understanding and quantitative assessment of water soluble NOCs in atmospheric aerosols and the relative contributions of different primary and secondary sources to them in the region. Such information is essential for the implementation of cost-effective and source specific control measures to mitigate the adverse effects of water soluble NOCs on both human health and environment.
Effective start/end date1/01/1630/06/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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