Characterisation and source identification of biofluorescent aerosol emissions over winter and summer periods in the United Kingdom

Elizabeth Forde, Martin W. Gallagher, Virginia Foot, Roland Sada-Esteve, I.A. Crawford, Paul Kaye, Warren Stanley, David Topping

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) are an abundant subset of atmospheric aerosol particles which comprise viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, pollen, and fragments such as plant and animal debris. The abundance and diversity of these particles remain poorly constrained, causing significant uncertainties for modelling scenarios and for understanding the potential implications of these particles in different environments. PBAP concentrations were studied at four different sites in the United Kingdom (Weybourne, Davidstow, Capel Dewi, and Chilbolton) using an ultraviolet light-induced fluorescence (UV-LIF) instrument, the Wideband Integrated Bioaerosol Spectrometer (WIBS), versions 3 and 4. Using hierarchical agglomerative cluster (HAC) analysis, particles were statistically discriminated. Fluorescent particles and clusters were then analysed by comparing to laboratory data of known particle types, assessing their diurnal variation and examining their relationship to the meteorological variables temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. Using local land cover types, sources of the suspected fluorescent particles and clusters were then identified. Most sites exhibited a wet discharged fungal spore dominance, with the exception of one site, Davidstow, which had higher concentrations of bacteria, suggested to result from the presence of a local dairy factory and farm. Differences were identified as to the sources of wet discharged fungal spores, with particles originating from arable and horticultural land at Chilbolton, and improved grassland areas at Weybourne. Total fluorescent particles at Capel Dewi were inferred to comprise two sources, with bacteria originating from the broadleaf and coniferous woodland and wet discharged fungal spores from nearby improved grassland areas, similar to Weybourne. The use of the HAC method and a higher fluorescence threshold (9 standard deviations instead of 3) produced clusters which were considered to be biological following the complete analysis. More published data and information on the reaction of different speciated biological particle types to fluctuations in meteorological conditions, such as relative humidity and temperature, would aid particle type characterisation in studies such as this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1665-1684
Number of pages20
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2019


  • aerosol characterization
  • bioaerosol
  • MBS
  • Multiparameter Bioaerosol Spectrometer
  • source identification


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