Fullerene C60 in Atmospheric Aerosol and Its Relationship to Combustion Processes
Fullerenes are emerging pollutants, and it is essential to determine and quantify these compounds to assess environmental risk and environmental flows. The goal of this work was to determine the fullerene C60 emission levels in the atmospheric aerosol and their relationship with combustion processes. To measure the concentration, a fullerene C60 extraction method with toluene was optimized in air samples using ultrasound, followed by analysis using high-pressure, liquid chromatography–diode array detector–mass spectrometry. This method has been applied to outdoor and indoor environmental samples collected in different places in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), with diverse environmental characteristics, as well as at the exhaust outlets of different vehicles with and without catalytic converters. The maximum concentration of fullerene C60 present in the outdoor samples was 2.27 pg/m3, and the maximum concentration was 10.50 pg/m3 in indoor environments. The air samples collected at the exhaust outlets of vehicles without catalytic converters showed fullerene C60 concentrations above 170 pg/m3, while in the case of vehicles with catalytic converters, the detected concentration of fullerene C60 was lower than the limit of quantification.
This work was supported by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The authors would like to thank the free collaboration of the to the EDP company, Basque Government, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Hall, Olazabal y Huarte and the Central Service of Analysis (Álava, -SGIker-) for its technical assistance.
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