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Elemental Composition of PM2.5 Particles Sampled in Industrial and Residential Areas of Taif, Saudi Arabia

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Volume: 13 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1356-1364
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.11.0320
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Abdallah A. Shaltout 1,2, Johan Boman3, Dhaif-allah R. Al-Malawi1, Zuhair F. Shehadeh1

  • 1 Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Taif University, 21974 Taif, P.O. Box 888, Saudi Arabia
  • 2 Spectroscopy Department, Physics Division, National Research Center, El Behooth Str., 12622 Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
  • 3 Department of Chemistry and molecular biology, Atmospheric Science, University of Gothenburg, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden


This paper describes the first part of a project conducted to evaluate the trace element composition of atmospheric aerosol particles (PM2.5) and to determine their influence on air quality in Taif city, Saudi Arabia. PM2.5 particles were collected from two different sites (industrial and residential) in Taif during the summer of 2011. The industrial site was situated in the largest industrial area of Taif, and the residential site was situated in the city’s most crowded area. PM2.5 samples were collected on polycarbonate filters using a cyclonic collector. Each sample was collected over a 24 hour period and new samples were collected weekly. Average PM2.5 concentrations of 47 ± 15 and 46 ± 31 µg/m3 were seen in the industrial and residential areas, respectively. An Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer with a Mo secondary target was used to analyze the solid samples because of the relative simplicity of the technique for filter analysis. The use of a Mo secondary target is advantageous, because it decreases the impact of continuum radiation from the X-ray tube and increases the signal to background ratio. Quantitative X-ray Analysis Software (PyMca) was used to perform quantitative analysis of the atmospheric aerosols. The analysis resulted in detected concentrations for sixteen elements; Si, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Pb and Black Carbon (BC). Using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) it was possible to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic sources. The measured concentrations of the potentially hazardous trace elements Cu, Cr, Mn, Ni and Pb were below the limits defined by international guidelines and national standards for ambient air quality. However, further long-term research will be required to validate the quantification of trace elements in particulate matter in Taif.


EDXRF Aerosol particles PM2.5 Trace element determination Metals

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