Molecular characterization of organic aerosols in Taiyuan, China: Seasonal variation and source identification

Wei Wang, Yanhao Zhang, Bin Jiang, Yanyan Chen, Yuanyuan Song, Yingtao Tang, Chuan Dong, Zongwei Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) samples collected in 2018 in Taiyuan, a typical industrial and mining city in North China Plain (NCP), were characterized based on ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled with orbitrap mass spectrometry. Potential molecular identifications based on precise molecular weight were conducted to obtain the compositional and source information of organic aerosols (OAs) in this city. Evident variation trends were observed during the sampling period in the composition, degree of oxidation and saturation of the obtained molecules. The proportion of CHOS− and CHO+ were increased from winter to summer and then decreased, conversely the proportion of CHN+ was decreased from winter to summer and then increased. By reclassifying the molecules, OA molecules were observed to be more saturated and oxidized in summer. It was caused by the high abundance of organosulfates (OSs) in summer, and aromatic amines/N-heterocycle aromatic hydrocarbons (PANHs) in winter. Molecular identification indicated that the OSs were basically originated from biogenic source isoprene or monoterpene, while the aromatic amines and PANHs were related to anthropogenic emissions of fossil fuel combustion, like other cities in the NCP area. The prevailing northwesterlies in winter may bring coal-burning pollutants from other cities, while the high abundance of organosulfates in summer may be related to the PM2.5 transportation from Shijiazhuang. This study firstly demonstrates the molecular composition characteristics, potential sources, and geographical origins of PM2.5 in Taiyuan, which gives a comprehensive understanding of PM2.5 in a typical industrial and mining city.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149419
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Molecular characterization
  • Orbitrap MS
  • Organic aerosol (OA)
  • Seasonal variation
  • Source identification


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