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Composition and source apportionment of surfactants in atmospheric aerosols of urban and semi-urban areas in Malaysia

Wahid, Nurul Bahiyah Abd, Latif, Mohd Talib, Suratman, Suhaimi
Chemosphere 2013 v.91 pp. 1508-1516
aerosols, anions, biomass, burning, calcium, cations, chlorides, colorimetry, construction materials, fluorine, ion exchange chromatography, linear models, magnesium, methylene blue, monsoon season, potassium, sodium, soil, surfactants, vehicles (equipment), Malaysia
This study was conducted to determine the composition and source apportionment of surfactant in atmospheric aerosols around urban and semi-urban areas in Malaysia based on ionic compositions. Colorimetric analysis was undertaken to determine the concentrations of anionic surfactants as Methylene Blue Active Substances (MBAS) and cationic surfactants as Disulphine Blue Active Substances (DBAS) using a UV spectrophotometer. Ionic compositions were determined using ion chromatography for cations (Na+, NH4+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+) and anions (F−, Cl−, NO3-, SO42-). Principle component analysis (PCA) combined with multiple linear regression (MLR) were used to identify the source apportionment of MBAS and DBAS. Results indicated that the concentrations of surfactants at both sampling sites were dominated by MBAS rather than DBAS especially in fine mode aerosols during the southwest monsoon. Three main sources of surfactants were identified from PCA-MLR analysis for MBAS in fine mode samples particularly in Kuala Lumpur, dominated by motor vehicles, followed by soil/road dust and sea spray. Besides, for MBAS in coarse mode, biomass burning/sea spray were the dominant source followed by motor vehicles/road dust and building material.