Spatiotemporal variability in the oxidative potential of ambient fine particulate matter in the Midwestern United States

Haoran Yu, Joseph Varghese Puthussery, Yixiang Wang, Vishal Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We assessed the oxidative potential (OP) of both water-soluble and methanol-soluble fractions of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Midwestern United States. A large set of PM2.5 samples (NCombining double low line241) was collected from five sites set up in different environments, i.e., urban, rural, and roadside, in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri during May 2018-May 2019. Five acellular OP endpoints, including the consumption rate of ascorbic acid and glutathione in a surrogate lung fluid (SLF) (OPAA and OPGSH, respectively), dithiothreitol (DTT) depletion rate (OPDTT), and «OH generation rate in SLF and DTT (OPOH-SLF and OPOH-DTT, respectively), were measured for all PM2.5 samples. PM2.5 mass concentrations in the Midwestern US as obtained from these samples were spatially homogeneously distributed, while most OP endpoints showed significant spatiotemporal heterogeneity. Seasonally, higher activities occurred in summer for most OP endpoints for both water- and methanol-soluble extracts. Spatially, the roadside site showed the highest activities for most OP endpoints in the water-soluble extracts, while only occasional peaks were observed at urban sites in the methanol-soluble OP. Most OP endpoints showed similar spatiotemporal trends between mass- and volume-normalized activities across different sites and seasons. Comparisons between two solvents (i.e., water and methanol) showed that methanol-soluble OP generally had higher activity levels than corresponding water-soluble OP. Site-to-site comparisons of OP showed stronger correlations for methanol-soluble OP compared to water-soluble OP, indicating a better extraction of water-insoluble redox-active compounds from various emission sources into methanol. We found a weak correlation and inconsistent slope values between PM2.5 mass and most OP endpoints. Moreover, the poor to moderate intercorrelations among different OP endpoints indicate different mechanisms of OP represented by these endpoints and thus demonstrate the rationale for analyzing multiple acellular endpoints for a better and more comprehensive assessment of OP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16363-16386
Number of pages24
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 8 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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