Generation and characterization of gasoline engine exhaust inhalation exposure atmospheres

Inhal Toxicol. 2008 Oct;20(13):1157-68. doi: 10.1080/08958370802449696.


Exposure atmospheres for a rodent inhalation toxicology study were generated from the exhaust of a 4.3-L gasoline engine coupled to a dynamometer and operated on an adapted California Unified Driving Cycle. Exposure levels were maintained at three different dilution rates. One chamber at the lowest dilution had particles removed by filtration. Each exposure atmosphere was characterized for particle mass, particle number, particle size distribution, and detailed chemical speciation. The majority of the mass in the exposure atmospheres was gaseous carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organics, with small amounts of particle-bound carbon/ions and metals. The atmospheres varied according to the cycle, with the largest spikes in volatile organic and inorganic species shown during the "cold start" portion of the cycle. Ammonia present from the exhaust and rodents interacted with the gasoline exhaust to form secondary inorganic particles, and an increase in exhaust resulted in higher proportions of secondary inorganics as a portion of the total particle mass. Particle size had a median of 10-20 nm by number and approximately 150 nm by mass. Volatile organics matched the composition of the fuel, with large proportions of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons coupled to low amounts of oxygenated organics. A new measurement technique revealed organics reacting with nitrogen oxides have likely resulted in measurement bias in previous studies of combustion emissions. Identified and measured particle organic species accounted for about 10% of total organic particle mass and were mostly aliphatic acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers* / adverse effects
  • Gasoline* / adverse effects
  • Inhalation Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / administration & dosage
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Vehicle Emissions*


  • Gasoline
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions