Transition metal associations with primary biological particles in sea spray aerosol generated in a wave channel

TitleTransition metal associations with primary biological particles in sea spray aerosol generated in a wave channel
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGuasco TL, Cuadra-Rodriguez LA, Pedler BE, Ault AP, Collins DB, Zhao DF, Kim MJ, Ruppel MJ, Wilson S.C, Pomeroy R.S, Grassian VH, Azam F, Bertram TH, Prather KA
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Date Published2014/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0013-936X
Accession NumberWOS:000330205000059
Keywordsatmospheric aerosol; heterogeneous ice nucleation; heterotrophic bacteria; Iron; marine aerosols; mass-spectrometry; part 1; size distribution; surface microlayer; to-air transport

In the ocean, breaking waves generate air bubbles which burst at the surface and eject sea spray aerosol (SSA), consisting of sea salt, biogenic organic species, and primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP). Our overall understanding of atmospheric biological particles of marine origin remains poor. Here, we perform a control experiment, using an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer to measure the mass spectral signatures of individual particles generated by bubbling a salt solution before and after addition of heterotrophic marine bacteria. Upon addition of bacteria, an immediate increase occurs in the fraction of individual particle mass spectra containing magnesium, organic nitrogen, and phosphate marker ions. These biological signatures are consistent with 21% of the supermicrometer SSA particles generated in a previous study using breaking waves in an ocean-atmosphere wave channel. Interestingly, the wave flume mass spectral signatures also contain metal ions including silver, iron, and chromium. The nascent SSA bioparticles produced in the wave channel are hypothesized to be as follows: (1) whole or fragmented bacterial cells which bioaccumulated metals and/or (2) bacteria-derived colloids or biofilms which adhered to the metals. This study highlights the potential for transition metals, in combination with specific biomarkers, to serve as unique indicators for the presence of marine PBAP, especially in metal-impacted coastal regions.

Short TitleEnviron. Sci. Technol.
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