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Scientific Articles - PTR-MS Bibliography

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[Karl2002] Karl, TG., C. Spirig, J. Rinne, C. Stroud, P. Prevost, J. Greenberg, R. Fall, and A. Guenther, "Virtual disjunct eddy covariance measurements of organic compound fluxes from a subalpine forest using proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry", Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 2, no. 4: Copernicus GmbH, pp. 279–291, 2002.
A `virtual' disjunct eddy covariance (vDEC) device was tested with field measurements of biogenic VOC fluxes at a subalpine forest site in the Rocky Mountains of the USA. A PTR-MS instrument was used as the VOC sensor. Daily peak emission fluxes of 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (MBO), methanol, acetone and acetaldehyde were around 1.5, 1, 0.8 and 0.4 mg m-2 h-1, respectively. High pass filtering due to long sampling lines was investigated in laboratory experiments, and suggested that VOC losses in PTFA lines are generally governed by diffusion laws. Memory effects and surface reactions did not seem to play a dominant role. Model estimates of MBO fluxes compared well with measured fluxes. The results also suggest that latent heat and sensible heat fluxes are reasonably well correlated with VOC fluxes and could be used to predict variations in VOC emissions. The release of MBO, methanol, acetone and acetaldehyde resulted in significant change of tropospheric oxidant levels and a 10–40% increase in ozone levels, as inferred from a photochemical box model. We conclude that vDEC with a PTR-MS instrument is a versatile tool for simultaneous field analysis of multiple VOC fluxes.
[Karl2003c] Karl, T., A. Guenther, C. Spirig, A. Hansel, and R. Fall, "Seasonal variation of biogenic VOC emissions above a mixed hardwood forest in northern Michigan", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 30, no. 23: Wiley Online Library, 2003.
Fluxes of biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured at a hardwood forest in northern Michigan (UMBS, Prophet research site) over the course of the growing and senescing season. Methanol, acetaldehyde, acetone and isoprene were found to be the most abundant biogenic VOCs with maximum fluxes (mixing ratios in ppbv) of 2.0 mg m−2 h−1 (21.0), 1.0 mg m−2 h−1 (2.7), 1.6 mg m−2 h−1 (5.6) and 7.6 mg m−2 h−1 (6), respectively. The emission patterns show distinct seasonal changes and indicate a spring peak for methanol due to rapid leaf expansion and a fall peak for acetone and acetaldehyde most likely attributed to senescing and decaying biomass; isoprene emissions peaked as expected in the summer. We estimate potential source strengths of 8.9 Tg (C) y−1 methanol, 2.7 Tg (C) y−1 acetaldehyde and 7.0 Tg (C) y−1 acetone for deciduous temperate forests, which is a substantial contribution to the global atmospheric VOC budget.
[Jacob2005] Jacob, D. J., B. D. Field, Q. Li, D. R. Blake, J. de Gouw, C. Warneke, A. Hansel, A. Wisthaler, H. B. Singh, and A. Guenther, "Global budget of methanol: Constraints from atmospheric observations", Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012), vol. 110, no. D8: Wiley Online Library, 2005.
We use a global three-dimensional model simulation of atmospheric methanol to examine the consistency between observed atmospheric concentrations and current understanding of sources and sinks. Global sources in the model include 128 Tg yr−1 from plant growth, 38 Tg yr−1 from atmospheric reactions of CH3O2 with itself and other organic peroxy radicals, 23 Tg yr−1 from plant decay, 13 Tg yr−1 from biomass burning and biofuels, and 4 Tg yr−1 from vehicles and industry. The plant growth source is a factor of 3 higher for young than from mature leaves. The atmospheric lifetime of methanol in the model is 7 days; gas-phase oxidation by OH accounts for 63% of the global sink, dry deposition to land 26%, wet deposition 6%, uptake by the ocean 5%, and aqueous-phase oxidation in clouds less than 1%. The resulting simulation of atmospheric concentrations is generally unbiased in the Northern Hemisphere and reproduces the observed correlations of methanol with acetone, HCN, and CO in Asian outflow. Accounting for decreasing emission from leaves as they age is necessary to reproduce the observed seasonal variation of methanol concentrations at northern midlatitudes. The main model discrepancy is over the South Pacific, where simulated concentrations are a factor of 2 too low. Atmospheric production from the CH3O2 self-reaction is the dominant model source in this region. A factor of 2 increase in this source (to 50–100 Tg yr−1) would largely correct the discrepancy and appears consistent with independent constraints on CH3O2 concentrations. Our resulting best estimate of the global source of methanol is 240 Tg yr−1. More observations of methanol concentrations and fluxes are needed over tropical continents. Better knowledge is needed of CH3O2 concentrations in the remote troposphere and of the underlying organic chemistry.
[Karl2008] Karl, T., A. Guenther, A. Turnipseed, EG. Patton, K. Jardine, and , "Chemical sensing of plant stress at the ecosystem scale", Biogeosciences Discussions, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 2381–2399, 2008.
Significant ecosystem-scale emissions of methylsalicylate (MeSA), a semivolatile plant hormone thought to act as the mobile signal for systemic acquired resistance (SAR) (Park et al., 2006), were observed in an agroforest. Our measurements show that plant internal defence mechanisms can be activated in response to temperature stress and are modulated by water availability on large scales. Highest MeSA fluxes (up to 0.25 mg/m2/h) were observed after plants experienced ambient night-time temperatures of  7.5°C followed by a large daytime temperature increase (e.g. up to 22°C). Under these conditions estimated night-time leaf temperatures were as low as  4.6°C, likely inducing a response to prevent chilling injury (Ding et al., 2002). Our observations imply that plant hormones can be a significant component of ecosystem scale volatile organic compound (VOC) fluxes (e.g. as high as the total monoterpene (MT) flux) and therefore contribute to the missing VOC budget (de Carlo et al., 2004; Goldstein and Galbally, 2007). If generalized to other ecosystems and different types of stresses these findings suggest that semivolatile plant hormones have been overlooked by investigations of the impact of biogenic VOCs on aerosol formation events in forested regions (Kulmala et al., 2001; Boy et al., 2000). Our observations show that the presence of MeSA in canopy air serves as an early chemical warning signal indicating ecosystem-scale stresses before visible damage becomes apparent. As a chemical metric, ecosystem emission measurements of MeSA in ambient air could therefore support field studies investigating factors that adversely affect plant growth.
[Kim2008] Kim, S., T. Karl, R. Rasmussen, E. Apel, P. Harley, S. Waldo, S. Roberts, and A. Guenther, "Emissions and Photochemistry of BVOCs in a Ponderosa Pine woodland", AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, vol. 1, pp. 0057, 2008.
We deployed two proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry instruments (PTR-MS, IONICON ANALYTIK) for ambient and branch enclosure measurements at the Manitou Experimental Forest, located in the Southern Rocky Mountain area as a part of the Bio-hydro-atmosphere interactions of Energy, Aerosols, Carbon, H2O, Organics and Nitrogen (BEACHON) field campaign in 2008. Vegetation at the field site is dominated by Ponderosa Pine. BVOC emissions from Ponderosa Pine along with temperature, photosynthetic photon flux density (ppfd), relative humidity, and CO2 uptake were measured from two branch-enclosures (shade and sun). Diurnal variations and the emission response to environmental conditions are described and compared to existing models. In addition, we analyzed the speciation of BVOCs from enclosures by GC-MS. We will present quantitative and qualitative characteristics of BVOC emissions from Ponderosa Pine and analytical characteristics of PTR-MS such as fragmentation patterns of semi-volatile compounds (sesquiterpene, bornyl acetate etc) that we identified as major emissions from the enclosures. BVOC emissions observed in the enclosures will be quantitatively compared to BVOC distributions in ambient air. We explore the presence of possibly unidentified BVOCs in the forest canopy by examining PTR-MS mass spectra of enclosure and ambient air samples based on mass scans between 40 - 210 amu.
[Kim2009a] Kim, S., T. Karl, D. Helmig, R. Daly, R. Rasmussen, and A. Guenther, "Measurement of atmospheric sesquiterpenes by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS)", Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, vol. 2, no. 1: Copernicus GmbH, pp. 99–112, 2009.
The ability to measure sesquiterpenes (SQT; C15H24) by a Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometer (PTR-MS) was investigated. SQT calibration standards were prepared by a capillary diffusion method and the PTR-MS-estimated mixing ratios were derived from the counts of product ions and proton transfer reaction constants. These values were compared with mixing ratios determined by a calibrated Gas Chromatograph (GC) coupled to a Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID). Product ion distributions from soft-ionization occurring in a selected ion drift tube via proton transfer were measured as a function of collision energies. Results after the consideration of the mass discrimination of the PTR-MS system suggest that quantitative SQT measurements within 20% accuracy can be achieved with PTR-MS if two major product ions (m/z 149+ and 205+), out of seven major product ions (m/z 81+, 95+, 109+, 123+, 135+, 149+ and 205+), are accounted for. Considerable fragmentation of bicyclic sesquiterpenes, i.e. β-caryophyllene and α-humulene, cause the accuracy to be reduced to 50% if only the parent ion (m/z 205+) is considered. These findings were applied to a field dataset collected above a deciduous forest at the PROPHET (Program for Research on Oxidants: Photochemistry, Emissions, and Transport) research station in 2005. Inferred average daytime ecosystem scale mixing ratios (fluxes) of isoprene, sum of monoterpenes (MT), and sum of SQT exhibited values of 15 μg m−3 (4.5 mg m−2 h−1), 1.2 μg m−3 (0.21 mg m−2 h−1), and 0.0016 μg m−3 (0.10 mg m−2 h−1), respectively. A range of MT and SQT reactivities with respect to the OH radical was calculated and compared to an earlier study inferring significantly underestimated OH reactivities due to unknown terpenes above this deciduous forest. The results indicate that incorporating these MT and SQT results can resolve  30% of missing OH reactivity reported for this site.
[Karl2010] Karl, T., P. Harley, L. Emmons, B. Thornton, A. Guenther, C. Basu, A. Turnipseed, and K. Jardine, "Efficient atmospheric cleansing of oxidized organic trace gases by vegetation", Science, vol. 330, no. 6005: American Association for the Advancement of Science, pp. 816–819, 2010.
The biosphere is the major source and sink of nonmethane volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere. Gas-phase chemical reactions initiate the removal of these compounds from the atmosphere, which ultimately proceeds via deposition at the surface or direct oxidation to carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. We performed ecosystem-scale flux measurements that show that the removal of oxygenated VOC via dry deposition is substantially larger than is currently assumed for deciduous ecosystems. Laboratory experiments indicate efficient enzymatic conversion and potential up-regulation of various stress-related genes, leading to enhanced uptake rates as a response to ozone and methyl vinyl ketone exposure or mechanical wounding. A revised scheme for the uptake of oxygenated VOCs, incorporated into a global chemistry-transport model, predicts appreciable regional changes in annual dry deposition fluxes.

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Selected PTR-MS related Reviews

F. Biasioli, C. Yeretzian, F. Gasperi, T. D. Märk: PTR-MS monitoring of VOCs and BVOCs in food science and technology, Trends in Analytical Chemistry 30 (7) (2011).

J. de Gouw, C. Warneke, T. Karl, G. Eerdekens, C. van der Veen, R. Fall: Measurement of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Earth's Atmosphere using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 26 (2007), 223-257.

W. Lindinger, A. Hansel, A. Jordan: Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR–MS): on-line monitoring of volatile organic compounds at pptv levels, Chem. Soc. Rev. 27 (1998), 347-375.


Lists with PTR-MS relevant publications of the University of Innsbruck can be found here: Atmospheric and indoor air chemistry, IMR, Environmental Physics and Nano-Bio-Physics


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