The oxidative potential of fresh and aged elemental carbon-containing airborne particles: a review

Yangyang Liu, Chak K. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Elemental carbon is often found in ambient particulate matter (PM), and it contributes to the PM's oxidative potential (OP) and thus poses great health concerns. Previous review articles mainly focused on the methodologies in evaluating OP in PM and its relationship with selected chemical constituents, including metal ions, PAHs, and inorganic species. In recent years, growing attention has been paid to the effect of atmospheric aging processes on the OP of EC-containing airborne particles (ECCAPs). This review investigates more than 150 studies concerning the OP measurements and physico-chemical properties of both fresh and aged ECCAPs such as laboratory-generated elemental carbon (LGEC), carbon black (CB), soot (black carbon), and engineered carbon-containing nanomaterials (ECCBNs). Specifically, we summarize the characteristics of water-soluble and insoluble organic species, PAHs, quinone, and oxygen-containing functional groups (OFGs), and EC crystallinity. Both water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) and water-insoluble organic carbon (WIOC) contribute to the OP. Low molecular weight (MW) PAHs show a higher correlation with OP than high MW PAHs. Furthermore, oxidative aging processes introduce OFGs, where quinone (C O) and epoxide (O-C-O) increase the OP of ECCAPs. In contrast, carboxyl (-COOH) and hydroxyl (-OH) slightly change the OP. The low crystallinity of EC favors the oxygen addition and forms active OFG quinone, thus increasing the OP. More detailed analyses for the EC microstructures and the organic coatings are needed to predict the OP of ECCAPs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-546
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Science: Processes and Impacts
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 11 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Medicine
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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