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Aqueous-phase story of isoprene – A mini-review and reaction with HONO

Rudziński, Krzysztof J., Szmigielski, Rafał, Kuznietsova, Inna, Wach, Paulina, Staszek, Dorota
Atmospheric environment 2016 v.130 pp. 163-171
aerosols, air quality, aqueous solutions, atmospheric chemistry, gases, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, isoprene, models, new products, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous acid, oxidants, ozone, rain, scientists, solubility, sulfates, sulfites, troposphere
Isoprene is a major biogenic hydrocarbon emitted to the atmosphere and a well-recognized player in atmospheric chemistry, formation of secondary organic aerosol and air quality. Most of the scientific work on isoprene has focused on the gas-phase and smog chamber processing while direct aqueous chemistry has escaped the major attention because physical solubility of isoprene in water is low. Therefore, this work recollects the results of genuine research carried on atmospherically relevant aqueous-phase transformations of isoprene. It clearly shows that isoprene dissolves in water and reacts in aqueous solutions with common atmospheric oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone, hydroxyl radicals, sulfate radicals and sulfite radicals. The reactions take place in the bulk of solutions or on the gas–liquid interfaces and often are acid-catalyzed and/or enhanced by light. The review is appended by an experimental study of the aqueous-phase reaction of isoprene with nitrous acid (HONO). The decay of isoprene and formation of new products are demonstrated. The tentative chemical mechanism of the reaction is suggested, which starts with slow decomposition of HONO to NO2 and NO. The aqueous chemistry of isoprene explains the formation of a few tropospheric components identified by scientists yet considered of unknown origin. The reaction of isoprene with sulfate radicals explains formation of the MW 182 organosulfate found in ambient aerosol and rainwater while the reaction of isoprene with HONO explains formation of the MW 129 and MW 229 nitroorganic compounds identified in rainwater. Thus, aqueous transformations of isoprene should not be neglected without evidence but rather considered and evaluated in modeling of atmospheric chemical processes even if alternative and apparently dominant heterogeneous pathways of isoprene transformation, dry or wet, are demonstrated.