Reactive oxygen species induced by personal exposure to fine particulate matter emitted from solid fuel combustion in rural Guanzhong Basin, northwestern China

  • Yaqi Li
  • Hongmei XuEmail author
  • Kailai He
  • Jinhui Wang
  • Zhi Ning
  • Qiyuan Wang
  • Nan Li
  • Zhenxing Shen
  • Pingping Liu
  • Jian Sun
  • Xinyi Niu
  • Yongxiao Cao
  • Junji Cao


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) released by the burning of domestic solid fuels is an important air pollutant in the rural indoor environment in China. Here, personal exposure to PM2.5-induced oxidative damage resulting from household solid fuel combustion was examined in winter in rural areas of Guanzhong Basin, northwestern China. The volume-based average exogenous reactive oxygen species (exo-ROS) activities were 1943.7 ± 3668.0 and 1628.5 ± 2618.7 μM H2O2/min/m3 for 50 and 100 μL of PM2.5 extracts, respectively. While the different patterns were found for endogenous reactive oxygen species (endo-ROS), 465.8 ± 2427.4 and 1740.4 ± 2643.2 μM H2O2/min/m3 for 4 h exposed to 50 and 100 μL of PM2.5 extract. When the exposure time was extended to 24 h, endo-ROS activities were 3789.5 ± 4582.0 and 3534.8 ± 4595.6 μM H2O2/min/m3 for 50 and 100 μL of PM2.5 extracts, respectively. Among four common dwelling heating ways used in northwestern China, the highest ROS activity (160.4 μM H2O2/min/m3 for 4-h endo-ROS at 50 μL of PM2.5 extracts) was found for households using indoor coal chunks stove. The ROS activity in households using electric power heating was 2.9–15.9-fold lower than that in households using indoor coal chunks stove; thus, electric power heating was found to be the cleanest method for rural household heating. PM2.5-bound K+, organic carbon 1 (OC1), elemental carbon 1 (EC1), several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and two hopanes species were observed to be significantly correlated with exo-ROS and 4-h endo-ROS, indicating that these chemical compounds and the sources in PM2.5 exposure samples may induce more ROS and affect human health strongly. The results indicate that heating methods used in rural households in winter can greatly impact the health of residents living in rural areas of northwestern China through personal exposure PM2.5-induced oxidative damage.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) PM2.5 Personal exposure Solid fuel combustion 


Author contributions

H.X. conceived and designed the study. Y.L., H.X. and K.H. contributed to the literature search, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing. H.X., Y.L., J.S., X.N. and P.L. carried out the particulate samples collection and chemical experiments, analyzed the experimental data. Z.N., J.W., K.H. and Q.W. contributed to the ROS and cell activity analysis. Z.S., N.L., Y.C. and J.C. contributed to manuscript revision. All authors commented on the manuscript and reviewed the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41877376), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant (2018T111069, 2017M623187) and the Shaanxi key research and development program (2018ZDCXL-SF-30-5). The support from the open fund by Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control (KHK1712), a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) are also thanked.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

11869_2019_747_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3031 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control (AEMPC)Nanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, SKLLQG, Institute of Earth EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  4. 4.Health Science CenterXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  5. 5.NICU, Xi’an Children’s HospitalXi’anChina
  6. 6.Division of Environment and SustainabilityThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  7. 7.School of Human Settlements and Civil EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  8. 8.The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary CareThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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