Characterization of road dust and resuspended particles close to a busy road of Venice mainland (Italy)

  • G. Valotto
  • D. ZannoniEmail author
  • P. Guerriero
  • G. Rampazzo
  • F. Visin
Original Paper


Road traffic contributes to atmospheric particulate matter with exhaust (fuel combustion) and non-exhaust (wear of vehicle parts such as brake, tires and abrasion of the road surface) emissions. Road dust is composed of particles belonging to natural and anthropogenic sources related in large part to road traffic. To date, understanding the relative contribution of road dust resuspension and particles directly emitted by abrasion to particulate matter is still a matter of debate. In this work, road dust and resuspended particles samples are collected at different heights and with increasing sampling time near a busy road of Venice mainland. Elemental composition and morphology of particles were investigated with a combination of techniques: inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), laser diffraction analysis and scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM–EDX). The differences between deposited and resuspended particles were highlighted and the main pollutant sources were identified to study the resuspension process related to the traffic flow. Resuspended particles were divided into six groups related to the presence of anti-ice material, to soil resuspension and to the road surface and vehicle parts wear. The contributions of clustered particles vary with the height from the road level. This study, the first one focusing on the road traffic particles resuspension in Veneto region, will provide topical information for the identification of this source in atmospheric particulate samples.


Road dust Particle resuspension Particle identification Road traffic SEM/EDX 



This research received no specific Grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Supplementary material

13762_2019_2246_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (203 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 203 kb)


  1. AIRUSE LIFE 11 ENV/ES/584 (2016) The efficacy of dust suppressants to control road dust re-suspension in northern and central EuropeGoogle Scholar
  2. Amato F, Cassee FR, van der Gon HACD, Gehrig R, Gustafsson M, Hafner W, Harrison RM, Jozwicka M, Kelly FJ, Moreno T, Prevot ASH, Schaap M, Sunyer J, Querol X (2014) Urban air quality: the challenge of traffic non-exhaust emissions. J Hazard Mater 275:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amato F, Zandveld P, Keuken M, Jonkers S, Querol X, Reche C, van der Gon HACD, Schaap M (2016) Improving the modeling of road dust levels for Barcelona at urban scale and street level. Atmos Environ 125(Part A):231–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ANAS (2017) Direzione Ingegneria e Verifiche, elenco prezzi 2017 MO.2017 – Rev.0 Manutenzione Ordinaria. Accessed 20 Nov 2018
  5. Anderhalt R, Swenson L (2006) Applications for automated particle analysis. Microsc Today 14(5):22–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becherini F, Pastorelli G, Valotto G, Gambirasi A, Bianchin S, Favaro M (2017) Effects of protective treatments on particle deposition and colour variation in stone surfaces exposed to an urban environment. Prog Org Coat 112:75–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bukowiecki N, Gehrig R, Lienemann P, Hill M, Figi R, Buchmann BFM, Richard A, Mohr C, Weimer SO (2009) PM10 emission factors of abrasion particles from road traffic. Schweizerische EidgenossenschaftGoogle Scholar
  8. Denby BR, Sundvor I, Johansson C, Pirjola L, Ketzel M, Norman M, Kupiainen K, Gustafsson M, Blomqvist G, Omstedt G (2013) A coupled road dust and surface moisture model to predict non-exhaust road traffic induced particle emissions (NORTRIP). Part 1: road dust loading and suspension modelling. Atmos Environ 77:283–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. EMEP/EEA (2016) Air pollutant emission inventory guidebook 2016: technical guidance to prepare National Emission Inventories ( -vii Road Tire and Brake Wear 2016). Accessed 20 Nov 2018
  10. Fontana A, Mozzi P, Bondesan A (2008) Alluvial megafans in the Venetian–Friulian Plain (north-eastern Italy): evidence of sedimentary and erosive phases during Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Quat Int 189(1):71–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grigoratos T, Martini G (2015) Brake wear particle emissions: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22(4):2491–2504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. INventario EMissioni Regione Veneto (INEMAR) (2006) Emission inventory of Veneto Region (in italian). Accessed 20 Nov 2018
  13. Karanasiou A, Amato F, Moreno T, Lumbreras J, Borge R, Linares C, Boldo E, Alastuey A, Querol X (2014) Road dust emission sources and assessment of street washing effect. Aerosol Air Qual Res 14(3):734–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kumar P, Pirjola L, Ketzel M, Harrison RM (2013) Nanoparticle emissions from 11 non-vehicle exhaust sources: a review. Atmos Environ 67:252–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kwak JH, Kim H, Lee J, Lee S (2013) Characterization of non-exhaust coarse and fine particles from on-road driving and laboratory measurements. Sci Total Environ 459:273–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Orza JAG, Cabello M, Mateo J (2009) Simple passive methods for the assessment of the directional and vertical distributions of wind-blown particulates. Advances in studies on desertification, MurciaGoogle Scholar
  17. Pant P, Harrison RM (2013) Estimation of the contribution of road traffic emissions to particulate matter concentrations from field measurements: a review. Atmos Environ 77:78–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pezzolo ADL, Valotto G, Quaranta A (2017) Carbonate and silicate abundance indexing in coarse-grained river sediments using diffuse reflection infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) and ion-beam-induced luminescence (IBIL) spectroscopies. Appl Spectrosc 71(6):1222–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rexeis M, Hausberger S (2009) Trend of vehicle emission levels until 2020—prognosis based on current vehicle measurements and future emission legislation. Atmos Environ 43(31):4689–4698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sanders PG, Xu N, Dalka TM, Maricq MM (2003) Airborne brake wear debris: size distributions, composition, and a comparison of dynamometer and vehicle tests. Environ Sci Technol 37(18):4060–4069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shi G, Chen Z, Bi C, Wang L, Teng J, Li Y, Xu S (2011) A comparative study of health risk of potentially toxic metals in urban and suburban road dust in the most populated city of China. Atmos Environ 45(3):764–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Timmers VRJH, Achten PAJ (2016) Non-exhaust PM emissions from electric vehicles. Atmos Environ 134:10–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (1996) Soil screening guidance: technical background document. Second editionGoogle Scholar
  24. Valotto G, Squizzato S, Masiol M, Zannoni D, Visin F, Rampazzo G (2014) Elemental characterization, sources and wind dependence of PM1 near Venice, Italy. Atmos Res 143:371–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Valotto G, Rampazzo G, Visin F, Gonella F, Cattaruzza E, Glisenti A, Formenton G, Tieppo P (2015) Environmental and traffic-related parameters affecting road dust composition: a multi-technique approach applied to Venice area (Italy). Atmos Environ 122:596–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Valotto G, Cattaruzza E, Bardelli F (2017) Multi-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy study of road dust samples from a traffic area of Venice using stoichiometric and environmental references. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 13:971–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Valotto G, Zannoni D, Rampazzo G, Visin F, Formenton G, Gasparello A (2018) Characterization and preliminary risk assessment of road dust collected in Venice airport (Italy). J Geochem Explor 190:142–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wan D, Zhan C, Yang G, Liu X, Yang J (2016) Preliminary assessment of health risks of potentially toxic elements in settled dust over Beijing urban area. J Environ Res Public Health 13(5):491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yu C, Cheng JJ, Jones LG, Wang YY, Faillace E, Loureiro C, Chia YP (1993) Data collection handbook to support modeling the impacts of radioactive material in soil, Argonne National Lab., IL (United States). Environmental Assessment and Information Sciences DivGoogle Scholar
  30. Zannoni D, Valotto G, Visin F, Rampazzo G (2016) Sources and distribution of tracer elements in road dust: the Venice mainland case of study. J Geochem Explor 166:64–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and StatisticsCa’ Foscari University of VeniceMargheraItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry and Technologies for EnergyNational Research Council of Italy ICMATE-CNRPaduaItaly

Personalised recommendations