Molecular marker characterization and source appointment of particulate matter and its organic aerosols

Jong Kyu Choi, Soo Jin Ban, Yong Pyo Kim, Yong Hee Kim, Seung Muk Yi, Kyung Duk Zoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This study was carried out to identify possible sources and to estimate their contribution to total suspended particle (TSP) organic aerosol (OA) contents. A total of 120 TSP and PM2.5 samples were collected simultaneously every third day over a one-year period in urban area of Incheon, Korea. High concentration in particulate matters (PM) and its components (NO3-, water soluble organic compounds (WSOCs), and n-alkanoic acids) were observed during the winter season. Among the organics, n-alkanes, n-alkanoic acids, levoglucosan, and phthalates were major components. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis identified seven sources of organic aerosols including combustion 1 (low molecular weight (LMW)-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)), combustion 2 (high molecular weight (HMW)-PAHs), biomass burning, vegetative detritus (n-alkane), secondary organic aerosol 1 (SOA1), secondary organic aerosol 2 (SOA2), and motor vehicles. Vegetative detritus increased during the summer season through an increase in biogenic/photochemical activity, while most of the organic sources were prominent in the winter season due to the increases in air pollutant emissions and atmospheric stability. The correlation factors were high among the main components of the organic carbon (OC) in the TSP and PM2.5. The results showed that TSP OAs had very similar characteristics to the PM2.5 OAs. SOA, combustion (PAHs), and motor vehicle were found to be important sources of carbonaceous PM in this region. Our results imply that molecular markers (MMs)-PMF model can provide useful information on the source and characteristics of PM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-491
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Molecular marker (MM)
  • PM
  • Positive matrix factorization (PMF)
  • Secondary organic aerosol (SOA)
  • TSP


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