Seasonal trends of atmospheric PAHs in five asian megacities and source detection using suitable biomarkers

Mahua Saha, Dusmant Maharana, Rina Kurumisawa, Hideshige Takada, Bee Geok Yeo, Andrea C. Rodrigues, Badal Bhattacharya, Hidetoshi Kumata, Tomoaki Okuda, Kebin He, Yongliang Ma, Fumiyuki Nakajima, Mohamad Pauzi Zakaria, Duong Hoang Giang, Pham Hung Viet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The most prevalent pollutant, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is now plenteously distributed in the global atmosphere. We recently quantified 36 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) associated with aerosols (particulate matter: PM) in five Asian cities: Tokyo (Japan), Beijing (China), Kolkata (India), Hanoi (Vietnam), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Average atmospheric PAH concentrations (∑12 PAHs-ng m–3) increased in the order of Kuala Lumpur (2.99) ≈ Tokyo (3.95) < Hanoi (7.99) << Kolkata (63.5) << Beijing (142.8). The most abundant PAHs in PM samples in these cities were chrysene, benz[a]anthracene, benzofluoranthenes, benzo[a]pyrene, and benzo[e]pyrene. We used the PAH compositions, especially the relative abundances of alkylated PAHs, and hopanes to determine vehicle exhaust-derived PAHs, and levoglucosan as a tracer for biomass burning, especially from wood combustion. Vehicle exhaust contributed to atmospheric PAHs in all cities, indicated by higher ratios of (C3017α)/total PAHs and MPAHs/PAHs than coal and wood combustion products. Coal combustion contributed also in winter aerosols in Beijing, indicated by higher abundance of β isomers i.e., 17β21β (H)-C30hopane (C3017β) and 17β21β (H)-C29hopane (C2917β) signifying mass use of coal for heating. The ratio of levoglucosan/PAHs was high in Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi, suggesting greater inputs of PAHs from biomass burning there.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2247-2262
Number of pages16
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept


  • Aerosol
  • Biomarkers
  • Coal combustion
  • Hopanes
  • Levoglucosan
  • PM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal trends of atmospheric PAHs in five asian megacities and source detection using suitable biomarkers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this