Differences in the composition of organic aerosols between winter and summer in Beijing: A study by direct-infusion ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry

Sarah S. Steimer*, Daniel J. Patton, Tuan V. Vu, Marios Panagi, Paul S. Monks, Roy M. Harrison, Zoë L. Fleming, Zongbo Shi, Markus Kalberer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study investigates the chemical composition of PM2.5 collected at a central location in Beijing, China, during winter 2016 and summer 2017. The samples were characterised using direct-infusion negative-nano-electrosprayionisation ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry to elucidate the composition and the potential primary and secondary sources of the organic fraction. The samples from the two seasons were compared with those from a road-tunnel site and an urban background site in Birmingham, UK, analysed in the course of an earlier study using the same method. There were strong differences in aerosol particle composition between the seasons, particularly regarding (poly-)aromatic compounds, which were strongly enhanced in winter, likely due to increased fossil fuel and biomass burning for heating. In addition to the seasonal differences, compositional differences between high- and low-pollution conditions were observed, with the contribution of sulfur-containing organic compounds strongly enhanced under high-pollution conditions. There was a correlation of the number of sulfur-containing molecular formulae with the concentration of particulate sulfate, consistent with a particle-phase formation process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number683
Pages (from-to)13303-13318
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We acknowledge the support from Pingqing Fu, Zifa Wang, Jie Li and Yele Sun from IAP for hosting the APHH-Beijing campaign at IAP. We thank Di Liu and Bill Bloss from the University of Birmingham; Siyao Yue, Liangfang Wei, Hong Ren, Qiaorong Xie, Wanyu Zhao, Linjie Li, Ping Li, Shengjie Hou and Qingqing Wang from IAP; Rachel Dun-more, Ally Lewis and James Lee from the University of York; Kebin He and Xiaoting Cheng from Tsinghua University; and James Allan and Hugh Coe from the University of Manchester for providing logistic and scientific support for the field campaigns.

Funding Information:
Financial support. This research has been supported by the Natu-

Funding Information:
ral Environment Research Council (grant nos. NE/N007190/1 and NE/N007158/1) as part of the APHH-Beijing study, the Swiss National Science Foundation (project no. P2EZP2_162258) and the AXA Research Fund (through a 2017-LIFE-PostDoc fellowship).

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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