Ultrasensitive detection of inhaled organic aerosol particles by accelerator mass spectrometry

Chemosphere. 2016 Sep;159:80-88. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.05.078. Epub 2016 Jun 6.


Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was shown to be applicable for studying the penetration of organic aerosols, inhaled by laboratory mice at ultra-low concentration ca. 10(3) cm(-3). We synthesized polystyrene (PS) beads, composed of radiocarbon-labeled styrene, for testing them as model organic aerosols. As a source of radiocarbon we used methyl alcohol with radioactivity. Radiolabeled polystyrene beads were obtained by emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization of synthesized (14)C-styrene initiated by K2S2O8 in aqueous media. Aerosol particles were produced by pneumatic spraying of diluted (14)C-PS latex. Mice inhaled (14)C-PS aerosol consisting of the mix of 10(3) 225-nm particles per 1 cm(3) and 5·10(3) 25-nm particles per 1 cm(3) for 30 min every day during five days. Several millions of 225-nm particles deposited in the lungs and slowly excreted from them during two weeks of postexposure. Penetration of particles matter was also observed for liver, kidneys and brain, but not for a heart.

Keywords: Accelerator mass-spectrometry; Low-dose inhalation; Mice; Organic aerosols; Polystyrene beads; Radiocarbon.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Particle Size
  • Polystyrenes / administration & dosage
  • Polystyrenes / analysis*
  • Polystyrenes / pharmacokinetics


  • Aerosols
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Polystyrenes