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Composition and source apportionment of saccharides in aerosol particles from an agro-industrial zone in the Indo-Gangetic Plain


The characterization of saccharidic compounds in atmospheric aerosols is important in order to retrieve information about organic carbon sources and their transport pathways through the atmosphere. In this study, composition and sources of saccharides in PM10 were determined in a South Asian megacity (Faisalabad) during the year 2015 – 2016. PM10 sampled on quartz filters was analyzed by anion exchange chromatography for the selected saccharidic compounds. The average PM10 concentration was found to be 744 ± 392 μg m−3, exceeding the daily limits proposed by Pak-EPA (150 μg m−3), US-EPA (150 μg m−3), and WHO (50 μg m−3). The average total saccharidic concentration was found to be 2820 ± 2247 ng m−3. Among the different saccharidic categories, anhydrosugars were the most abundant in concentration followed by primary sugars and sugar alcohols. The correlation and principal component analysis indicated emissions from biomass combustion, soil suspensions from areas such as farmlands having high microorganism activity, and biogenic emissions such as airborne fungal spores and vegetation detritus as major sources of saccharides in the aerosol samples.

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Above sea level


Global Data Assimilation System


Gross domestic product


High-performance anion exchange chromatography-pulsed amperometric detection


Hybrid single particle Lagrangian integrated


Liquid pressurized gas


National Environmental Quality Standards


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency


Principal component analysis


Pakistan Clean Air Program


United Nations


United States dollar


United States Environmental Protection Agency


World Health Organization


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The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan provided necessary funds through International Research Support Initiative Program (IRSIP) in order to complete this research work.

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1. Composition and sources of saccharides in PM10 were determined from an agro-industrial location in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

2. The PM10 values were crossing the limits fixed by Pak-EPA, US-EPA, and WHO.

3. The average total saccharidic concentration was found to be 2820 ng m−3 with marked seasonal variations.

4. Anhydrosugars were the most abundant saccharides followed by primary sugars and sugar alcohols.

5. Biomass combustion, soil suspensions, and biogenic emissions were estimated as major saccharidic sources.

Responsible editor: Constantini Samara

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Alvi, M.U., Kistler, M., Shahid, I. et al. Composition and source apportionment of saccharides in aerosol particles from an agro-industrial zone in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-07905-2

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  • Carbohydrate profile
  • Urban aerosol characterization
  • Air quality
  • Characterization of saccharides
  • Levoglucosan