Development and testing of a fluorometric method and instrument based on the 2',7' dichlorodihydrofluorescin assay for the measurement of reactive oxygen species
King, Laura Emily
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An online, semi-continuous instrument to measure both total and gas phase atmospheric reactive oxygen species (ROS) and determine the concentration of ROS in the particle phase (ROS(p)) was developed. This instrument was based on a fluorescent probe for quantifying ambient ROS, specifically 2'7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescin, or DCFH probe. This probe was analyzed for sensitivity to a variety of offline and online parameters for efficient use in a field instrument. The ROS(p) instrument measures the peak light intensity at 530 nm to determine ambient ROS concentrations. ROS particles and gases are collected in a mist chamber in a nebulized mist. The instrument alternates measurements of ROS(p+g), or ROS(tot) by means of an inline filter. Fine (PM₂.₅) (ROS(p) is determined by subtraction of the ROS(g) concentration from the ROS(tot), as the ROS(g) signal could not be excluded. This instrument was tested during the summer (May-July) of 2012 at urban and rural sites in the metropolitan Atlanta and surrounding region. Concentrations of ROS(p) determined from this instrument were often below limit of detection. Average concentrations of ROS(p) were found to be 0.25 nmol/m³ in urban Atlanta (Jefferson St. and Georgia Tech), and 0.15 nmol/m³ in Yorkville, a rural site. A side by side comparison of this method with a filter collection method was made in July. The average ROS(p) offline concentrations were 0.15 nmol/m³. These concentrations were comparable to the online average concentrations of 0.21 nmol/m³ for the same period of time. This average and the majority of the measurements comprising it is dominated by the high limit of detection. The ROS instrument as constructed and operated is an efficient way to conduct ROS(p) measurements at the level of a filter study while reducing the labor intensive filter collection and extraction. In order for this instrument to be successful at measuring ambient ROS in the particle phase, the removal of the gas phase from the current sampling scheme is critical as the ROS(g) concentrations are over 90% of the measured ROS. The system as currently operable is best suited for source measurements, including biomass burning plumes or fresh exhaust to capture immediate formation.