Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from Urban Roadside Air in Hong Kong

Tengyu Liu, Liyuan Zhou, Qianyun Liu, Berto P. Lee, Dawen Yao, Haoxian Lu, Xiaopu Lyu, Hai Guo, Chak K. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Motor vehicle emissions are an important but poorly constrained source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Here, we investigated in situ SOA formation from urban roadside air in Hong Kong during winter time using an oxidation flow reactor (OFR), with equivalent atmospheric oxidation ranging from several hours to several days. The campaign-average mass enhancement of OA, nitrate, sulfate, and ammonium upon OFR aging was 7.0, 7.2, 0.8, and 2.6 μg m-3, respectively. To investigate the sources of SOA formation potential, we performed multilinear regression analysis between measured peak SOA concentrations from OFR and the concentrations of toluene that represent motor vehicle emissions and cooking OA from positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis of ambient OA. Traffic-related SOA precursors contributed 92.3%, 92.4%, and 83.1% to the total SOA formation potential during morning rush hours, noon and early afternoon, and evening meal time, respectively. The SOA production factor (PF) was approximately 5.2 times of primary OA (POA) emission factor (EF) and the secondary particulate matter (PM) PF was approximately 2.6 times of primary particles EF. This study highlights the potential benefit of reducing secondary PM production from motor vehicle emissions in mitigating PM pollutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3001-3009
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number6
Early online date21 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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