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On-line measurement of fluorescent aerosols near an industrial zone in the Yangtze River Delta region using a wideband integrated bioaerosol spectrometer

Ma, Yan, Wang, Zhibin, Yang, Dongsen, Diao, Yiwei, Wang, Weiwei, Zhang, Hongliang, Zhu, Wenhui, Zheng, Jun
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.656 pp. 447-457
ambient temperature, bacteria, bioaerosols, cities, data collection, fluorescence, fungal spores, humidity, ice, information processing, pollen, river deltas, spectrometers, ultraviolet radiation, Yangtze River
In this work, we present on-line fluorescent aerosol measurements by the wideband integrated bioaerosol spectrometer (WIBS-4A) near an industrial zone in Nanjing, a megacity in the Yangtze-River-Delta (YRD) region. The fieldwork was conducted from April 1 to May 8, 2014. A TSI. 3321 aerosol-particle-sizer (APS) was simultaneously deployed to measure the total number size distribution of aerosol with diameter from 0.8–20 μm. Both WIBS-4A and APS reported similar number concentration and temporal profiles (R2 = 0.72). However, the daily average number of potential bioaerosols was only 0.5 ± 0.2% of the total particles detected by the WIBS-4A and displayed a completely different diurnal profile from that of APS. In addition, WIBS-4A can only provide integrated fluorescent signals, which strongly limited the potential to specifically identify the bioaerosols. Accordingly, hierarchical-agglomerative-cluster-analysis (HACA) was utilized to identify and speciate the potential bioaerosols from the WIBS-4A dataset. By maximizing the total distances among all potential cluster centers, a 12-cluster solution was accepted as the optimum result. These clusters were further identified according to their fluorescent signatures, size, and morphology, i.e., non-bioaerosols, bacteria, and fungal spores and/or pollen fragments. Bacteria were the dominant bioaerosol species detected in this work. The diurnal profiles of bioaerosols correlated very well with relatively humidity (RH), reaching daily maxima around 3 AM~6 AM, indicating the presence of humidity controlled bioaerosol emission mechanism, i.e., bacteria may flourish under moderate ambient temperature, RH, and the absence of UV radiation. The size- and AF-distributions of bioaerosols indicated that bioaerosols normally varied substantially in size and assumed a rather irregular shape. Although the number concentration of bioaerosols was relatively small, most bioaerosols can efficiently serve as ice nuclei by providing rough and irregular surfaces, verified by the observation results. Therefore, WIBS-4A measurements can still be informative for investigations of bioaerosols in the atmosphere, especially when HACA method was incorporated into the data processing.