Measurement and source identification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the aerosol in Xi'an, China, by using automated column chromatography and applying positive matrix factorization (PMF)

Tomoaki Okuda, Kazuki Okamoto, Shigeru Tanaka, Zhenxing Shen, Yuemei Han, Zongquan Huo

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In this study, we measured polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in aerosols in Xi'an, China from 2005 to 2007, by using a modified Soxhlet extraction followed by a clean-up procedure using automated column chromatography followed by HPLC/fluorescence detection. The sources of PAHs were apportioned by using the positive matrix factorization (PMF) method. The PM10 concentration in winter (161.1 ± 66.4 μg m- 3, n = 242) was 1.5 times higher than that in summer (110.9 ± 34.7 μg m- 3, n = 248). ΣPAH concentrations, which are the sum of the concentrations of all detected PAHs, in winter (344.2 ± 149.7 ng m- 3, n = 45) was 2.5 times higher than that in summer (136.7 ± 56.7 ng m- 3, n = 24) in this study. These strong seasonal variations in atmospheric PAH concentration are possibly due to coal combustion for residential heating. According to the source apportionment with PMF method in this study, the major sources of PAHs in Xi'an are categorized as (1) mobile sources such as vehicle exhaust that constantly contribute to PAH pollution, and (2) stationary sources such as coal combustion that have a large contribution to PAH pollution in winter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1914
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 15



  • Automated sample clean-up system
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Residential heating
  • Seasonal variation
  • Source identification
  • Vehicle exhaust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering

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