Light absorption of organic aerosol from pyrolysis of corn stalk

Xinghua Li, Yanju Chen, Tami C. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organic aerosol (OA) can absorb solar radiation in the low-visible and ultra-violet wavelengths thereby modifying radiative forcing. Agricultural waste burning emits a large quantity of organic carbon in many developing countries. In this work, we improved the extraction and analysis method developed by Chen and Bond, and extended the spectral range of OC absorption. We examined light absorbing properties of primary OA from pyrolysis of corn stalk, which is a major type of agricultural wastes. Light absorption of bulk liquid extracts of OA was measured using a UV–vis recording spectrophotometer. OA can be extracted by methanol at 95%, close to full extent, and shows polar character. Light absorption of organic aerosol has strong spectral dependence (Absorption Ångström exponent = 7.7) and is not negligible at ultra-violet and low-visible regions. Higher pyrolysis temperature produced OA with higher absorption. Imaginary refractive index of organic aerosol (kOA) is 0.041 at 400 nm wavelength and 0.005 at 550 nm wavelength, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Corn stalk
  • Light absorption
  • Organic aerosol
  • Pyrolysis
  • Spectral dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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