Contributions of organic peroxides to secondary aerosol formed from reactions of monoterpenes with O3

Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Jun 1;39(11):4049-59. doi: 10.1021/es050228s.


The role of organic peroxides in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from reactions of monoterpenes with O3 was investigated in a series of environmental chamber experiments. Reactions were performed with endocyclic (alpha-pinene and delta3-carene) and exocyclic (beta-pinene and sabinene) alkenes in dry and humid air and in the presence of the OH radical scavengers: cyclohexane, 1-propanol, and formaldehyde. A thermal desorption particle beam mass spectrometer was used to probe the identity and volatility of SOA components, and an iodometric-spectrophotometric method was used to quantify organic peroxides. Thermal desorption profiles and mass spectra showed that the most volatile SOA components had vapor pressures similar to pinic acid and that much of the SOA consisted of less volatile species that were probably oligomeric compounds. Peroxide analyses indicated that the SOA was predominantly organic peroxides, providing evidence that the oligomers were mostly peroxyhemiacetals formed by heterogeneous reactions of hydroperoxides and aldehydes. For example, it was estimated that organic peroxides contributed approximately 47 and approximately 85% of the SOA mass formed in the alpha- and beta-pinene reactions, respectively. Reactions performed with different OH radical scavengers indicated that most of the hydroperoxides were formed through the hydroperoxide channel rather than by reactions of stabilized Criegee intermediates. The effect of the OH radical scavenger on the SOA yield was also investigated, and the results were consistent with results of recent experiments and model simulations that support a mechanism based on changes in the [HO2]/[RO2] ratios. These are the first measurements of organic peroxides in monoterpene SOA, and the results have important implications for understanding the mechanisms of SOA formation and the potential effects of atmospheric aerosol particles on the environment and human health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / chemistry*
  • Air
  • Air Pollutants
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds / chemistry
  • Cyclohexanes / chemistry
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Hydroxyl Radical / chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry*
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry*
  • Ozone / chemistry*
  • Peroxides / chemistry*
  • Temperature
  • Volatilization


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Cyclohexanes
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Peroxides
  • cyclohexene
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • beta-pinene
  • Ozone
  • 3-carene
  • alpha-pinene