Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31071–31090 | Cite as

Levels and sources of organic compounds in fine ambient aerosols over National Capital Region of India

  • Shivani
  • Ranu GadiEmail author
  • Sudhir Kumar Sharma
  • Tuhin Kumar Mandal
  • Ravi Kumar
  • Sharma Mona
  • Sachin Kumar
  • Sanchit Kumar
Research Article


The study presents the spatial and temporal variation of fine ambient aerosols (PM2.5) over National Capital Region (NCR), India, during January to June 2016. The investigation includes three sampling sites, one in Delhi and two in the adjoining states of Delhi (Uttar Pradesh and Haryana), across NCR, India. The average PM2.5 concentration was highest for Delhi (128.5 ± 51.5 μg m−3) and lowest for Mahendragarh, Haryana (74.5 ± 28.7 μg m−3), during the study period. Seasonal variation was similar for all the sites with highest concentration during winter and lowest in summer. PM2.5 samples were analysed for organic compounds using gas chromatograph (GC). The concentration of three organic compound classes, n-alkanes (C11–C35), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and phthalates, present in PM2.5 samples has been reported. Diagnostic ratios for n-alkanes demonstrated that biogenic emissions were dominant over Mahendragarh while major contributions were observed from petrogenic emissions over Delhi and Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh. Molecular diagnostic ratios were calculated to distinguish between different sources of PAHs, which revealed that the fossil fuel combustion (diesel and gasoline emissions), traffic emissions, and biomass burning are the major source contributors. Health risk associated with human exposure of phthalates and PAHs was also assessed as daily intake (DI, ng kg−1 day−1) and lung cancer risk, respectively. Backward trajectory analysis explained the local, regional, and long-range transport routes of PM2.5 for all sites. Principal component analysis (PCA) results summarized that the vehicular emissions, biomass burning, and plastic burning were the major sources of the PAHs and phthalates over the sampling sites.


n-Alkanes PAHs Phthalates Daily intake Lung cancer risk Trajectories 



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Real time Environmental Applications and Display System


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Central Pollution Control Board


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


National Ambient Air Quality Standards



The authors are grateful to Prof. Nupur Prakash, Vice Chancellor, IGDTUW, Delhi, for her consistent guidance and inspiration. The authors gratefully acknowledge the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) for the provision of the HYSPLIT transport and dispersion model and/or READY website ( used in this publication.

Funding information

The work was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. First author also acknowledges the award of JRF from DST Research grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shivani
    • 1
  • Ranu Gadi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sudhir Kumar Sharma
    • 2
  • Tuhin Kumar Mandal
    • 2
  • Ravi Kumar
    • 3
  • Sharma Mona
    • 4
  • Sachin Kumar
    • 3
  • Sanchit Kumar
    • 4
  1. 1.Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for WomenNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.National Physical LaboratoryCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)New DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Multanimal Modi CollegeModinagarIndia
  4. 4.Central University of HaryanaMahendragarhIndia

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