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Journal Article

Hygroscopicity of amino acids and their effect on the water uptake of ammonium sulfate in the mixed aerosol particles


Su,  Hang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Luo, Q., Hong, J., Xu, H., Han, S., Tan, H., Wang, Q., et al. (2020). Hygroscopicity of amino acids and their effect on the water uptake of ammonium sulfate in the mixed aerosol particles. Science of the Total Environment, 734: 139318. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139318.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5A56-4
Amino acids are important water-soluble nitrogen-containing compounds in atmospheric aerosols. They can be involved in cloud formation due to their hygroscopicity and have significant influences on the hygroscopicity of inorganic compounds, which have not yet been well characterized. In this work, the hygroscopic properties of three amino acids, including aspartic acid, glutamine, and serine, as well as their mixtures with ammonium sulfate (AS) were investigated using a hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA) system. The gradual water uptake of aspartic acid, glutamine and serine particles indicates that they exist as liquid phase at low RH. When mixing either aspartic acid or glutamine with AS by mass ratio of 1:3, we observed a clear phase transition but with a lower deliquescence relative humidity (DRH) with respect to that of pure AS. This suggests the crystallization of AS in the presence of each of these two amino acids. However, as the mass fractions of these two amino acids increased in the mixed particles, the deliquescence transition process was not obvious. In contrast, the crystallization of AS was efficiently hampered even at low content (i.e., 25% by mass) of serine in the mixed particles. The Zdanovskii-Stokes-Robinson (ZSR) method in general underestimated the hygroscopic growth of any mixtures at RH below 79% (prior to AS deliquescence), suggesting both amino acid and the partially dissolved AS contributed the overall hygroscopicity at RH in this range. Relatively good agreements were reached between the measurements and model predictions using the Extended Aerosol Inorganic Model (E-AIM) assuming solid state AS in the mixed particles for 1:3 aspartic acid-AS and glutamine-AS systems. However, the model failed to simulate the water uptake behaviors of any other systems. It demonstrates that the interactions between components within the aerosols have a significant effect on the phase state of the mixed particles.