Contribution of transition metals in the reactive oxygen species activity of PM emissions from retrofitted heavy-duty vehicles

Vishal Verma, Martin M. Shafer, James J. Schauer, Constantinos Sioutas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We assessed the contribution of water-soluble transition metals to the reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity of diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) from four heavy-duty vehicles in five retrofitted configurations (V-SCRT, Z-SCRT, DPX, hybrid, and school bus). A heavy-duty truck without any control device served as the baseline vehicle. Particles were collected from all vehicle-configurations on a chassis dynamometer under three driving conditions: cruise (80 km h-1), transient UDDS, and idle. A sensitive macrophage-based in vitro assay was used to determine the ROS activity of collected particles. The contribution of water-soluble transition metals in the measured activity was quantified by their removal using a Chelex® complexation method. The study demonstrates that despite an increase in the intrinsic ROS activity (per mass basis) of exhaust PM with use of most control technologies, the overall ROS activity (expressed per km or per h) was substantially reduced for retrofitted configurations compared to the baseline vehicle. Chelex treatment of DEPs water extracts removed a substantial (≥70%) and fairly consistent fraction of the ROS activity, which ascertains the dominant role of water-soluble metals in PM-induced cellular oxidative stress. However, relatively lower removal of the activity in few vehicle-configurations (V-SCRT, DPX and school bus idle), despite a large aggregate metals removal, indicated that not all species were associated with the measured activity. A univariate regression analysis identified several transition metals (Fe, Cr, Co and Mn) as significantly correlated (R > 0.60; p < 0.05) with the ROS activity. Multivariate linear regression model incorporating Fe, Cr and Co explained 90% of variability in ROS levels, with Fe accounting for the highest (84%) fraction of the variance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5165-5173
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number39
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chelation
  • Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs)
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Transition metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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