Differing toxicity of ambient particulate matter (PM)in global cities

Jing Li, Haoxuan Chen, Xinyue Li, Minfei Wang, Xiangyu Zhang, Junji Cao, Fangxia Shen, Yan Wu, Siyu Xu, Hanqing Fan, Guillaume Da, Ru jin Huang, Jing Wang, Chak K. Chan, Alma Lorelei De Jesus, Lidia Morawska, Maosheng Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Air quality is often assessed using particulate matter (PM)mass concentration without considering its toxicity, thus possibly leading to improper control policies or inadequate health protection. Here, we studied differences in oxidative potentials (OPs)of PM samples collected using automobile air conditioning (AC)filters from 19 global cities, as well as influences from microbial contents. Dithiothreitol (DTT)assay showed remarkable differences in the PM OPs among cities (p-values ≤ 0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). For example, the normalized index of oxidant generation (NIOG)of PM samples in San Francisco (2.20 × 10−2, annual average PM10 = 16 μg/m3)was found to be twice that in Beijing (1.14 × 10−2, annual average PM10 = 135 μg/m3). Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL)assay found that PM-borne endotoxin ranged from 12.16 EU/mg (Florianopolis, Brazil)to 2518.23 EU/mg (Chennai, India)among cities. Besides, culturing method and real-time qPCR revealed significant differences of up to ∼100-fold in both bacterial and fungal levels among 19 cities. Spearman's correlation analysis implied that PM-borne microbes such as bacteria and fungi as well as metals could strongly influence the PM OP. As an example, our results in Xi'an, China further suggest that the PM2.5 OP evolves for a particular city over the time, which is attributable to both the urbanization and air pollution control measures. This work highlights the importance in optimizing the current air quality control measures by considering the toxicity factor and its microbial constituents.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-07-06


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