Health, Medicine

Chemical characterization and oxidative potential of particles emitted from open burning of cereal straws and rice husk under flaming and smoldering conditions

Publication date: August 2017
Source:Atmospheric Environment, Volume 163
Author(s): Akihiro Fushimi, Katsumi Saitoh, Kentaro Hayashi, Keisuke Ono, Yuji Fujitani, Ana M. Villalobos, Brandon R. Shelton, Akinori Takami, Kiyoshi Tanabe, James J. Schauer
Open burning of crop residue is a major source of atmospheric fine particle emissions. We burned crop residues (rice straws, barley straws, wheat straws, and rice husks produced in Japan) in an outdoor chamber and measured particle mass, composition (elemental carbon: EC, organic carbon: OC, ions, elements, and organic species), and oxidative potential in the exhausts. The fine particulate emission factors from the literature were within the range of our values for rice straws but were 1.4–1.9 and 0.34–0.44 times higher than our measured values for barley straw and wheat straw, respectively. For rice husks and wheat straws, which typically lead to combustion conditions that are relatively mild, the EC content of the particles was less than 5%. Levoglucosan seems more suitable as a biomass burning marker than K+, since levoglucosan/OC ratios were more stable than K+/particulate mass ratios among crop species. Stigmasterol and β-sitosterol could also be used as markers of biomass burning with levoglucosan or instead of levoglucosan. Correlation analysis between chemical composition and combustion condition suggests that hot or flaming combustions enhance EC, K+, Cl and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons emissions, while low-temperature or smoldering combustions enhance levoglucosan and water-soluble organic carbon emissions. Oxidative potential, measured with macrophage-based reactive oxygen species (ROS) assay and dithiothreitol (DTT) assay, of open burning fine particles per particulate mass as well as fine particulate emission factors were the highest for wheat straws and second highest for rice husks and rice straws. Oxidative potential per particulate mass was in the lower range of vehicle exhaust and atmosphere. These results suggest that the contribution of open burning is relatively small to the oxidative potential of atmospheric particles. In addition, oxidative potential (both ROS and DTT activities) correlated well with water-insoluble organic species, suggesting that OC components, especially water-insoluble OC components emitted under non-flaming combustion, have a major impact on oxidative potential.

Graphical abstract

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