Sugars as source indicators of biogenic organic carbon in aerosols collected above the Howland Experimental Forest, Maine
Medeiros, Patricia M.
Conte, Maureen H.
Weber, John C.
Simoneit, Bernd R. T.
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Bulk aerosols (> 1 μm) were collected continuously above the canopy at the Howland Experimental Forest, Maine, USA from May to October 2002. Each sample integrated over an approximately two-week period. Mono- and disaccharide sugars were extracted using a microscale technique and were analyzed as their TMS derivatives by GC-MS. Concentrations of total aerosol sugars ranged from 10 to 180 ng m-3. Glucose was the most abundant sugar (40-75% of the total sugars). The monosaccharides arabinose, fructose, galactose, mannose, arabitol and mannitol, and the disaccharides sucrose, maltose and mycose (aka trehalose) were also present in lower concentrations. The sugar composition in the aerosols varied seasonally. Fructose and sucrose were prevalent in early spring and decreased in relative abundance as the growing season progressed. Sugar polyols (arabitol and mannitol) and the disaccharide mycose (a fungal metabolite) were more prevalent in autumn during the period of leaf senescence. The changes in the sugar composition in the aerosol samples appear to reflect the seasonality of sugar production and utilization by the ecosystem. Plant waxes were present as significant components also indicating an input from biogenic background. Smoke plumes from Quebec forest fires passed over the Howland site in early July 2002. Levoglucosan, a biomarker of biomass burning, increased by an order of magnitude in the aerosol samples collected during this time. Glucose, mannose, arabinose, galactose, and also, plant waxes increased in concentration by factors of 2-5 in the smoke-impacted samples, indicating that wildfires enhance atmospheric emissions of uncombusted organic compounds. In contrast, concentrations of fructose, sugar polyols and disaccharides were not significantly higher in the smoke-impacted samples and indicated that biomass burning was not a significant source of these compounds in the aerosols.
Author Posting. © The Authors, 2005. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Atmospheric Environment 40 (2006): 1694-1705, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2005.11.001.
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