Oxidative potential of PM 2.5 and PM10 collected at the Environmental-Climate Observatory of Lecce


  • Adelaide Dinoi Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima – CNR. Lecce
  • Daniela Cesari Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima – CNR. Lecce
  • Lorena Carla Giannossa Dipartimento di Chimica – Università di Bari. Bari
  • Annarosa Mangone Dipartimento di Chimica – Università di Bari. Bari
  • Eva Merico Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima -CNR. Lecce
  • Maria Rachele Guascito Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali (DISTEBA) – Università del Salento.
  • Daniele Contini Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima – CNR. Lecce




Oxidative potential, PM 2.5, PM 10, seasonal trends


Atmospheric particlulate matter (PM) is an heterogeneuous and dynamic mixture of particles with different origins, and its harmful effects are more strongly linked to its size and chemical composition than to its mass. The capability of some chemical compounds, present in airborne particulate matter, to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) is known as “oxidative potential” (OP), and it represents a useful indicator of PM toxicity. The high production of ROS causes oxidative damages to cells that ultimately can lead to different chronic diseases. Although numerous studies were performed in the last years, however the biological mechanisms of toxicity and their relation with the chemical and physical properties of particulate matter are still largely unknown and futher research is need. In this work the oxidative potential of the water-soluble fraction of PM2.5 and PM10, collected at an urban background site in Southern Italy was investigated. The analysis of the OP were performed using the dithiothreitol (DTT) assay, a surrogate for cellular antioxidants, which analyses the rate of DTT depletion catalysed by chemical species present in the PM. Organic and Elemental carbon content was determined on all the collected samples in order to study the correlation between carbonaceous fractions and oxidative potential as well as to quantify the contribution of the combustion sources. DTT activity normalised by sampled air volume (OPV) and normalised by collected aerosol mass (OPM) were investigated. Results showed a seasonal trend in PM concentrations, in both size fractions, with larger concentrations during the cold seasons compared to the warm seasons. The same trend was also observed in carbonaceous faraction. OPV showed a similar trend with values larger in PM10 compared to PM2.5 as well as greater OPV values was observed in high carbon content samples. OPM was instead larger for PM2.5 than PM10. Also, OPV was well correlated both with mass concentration of PM and carbonaceous fractions, while no significant correlation has been observed with OPM.


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