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Characterization of Particulate Matter Profiling and Alveolar Deposition from Biomass Burning in Northern Thailand: The 7-SEAS Study

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 16 | Issue: 11 | Pages: 2897-2906
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.08.0502
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Hsiao-Chi Chuang1,2, Ta-Chih Hsiao 3, Sheng-Hsiang Wang4, Si-Chee Tsay5, Neng-Huei Lin4

  • 1 School of Respiratory Therapy, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 11031, Taiwan
  • 2 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei 11031, Taiwan
  • 3 Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Chung-Li 32001, Taiwan
  • 4 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Chung-Li 32001, Taiwan
  • 5 Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt, MD, USA


Number, surface area and BC concentrations are well correlated with fire counts.
Observed PM2.5 mass concentrations routinely exceed the 24-hour NAAQ Standard.
Deposition of BB aerosols in the alveolar region was examined using TSI AeroTrak.
BB aerosols’ size distribution and morphology could change in initial 24-hr.


Biomass burning (BB) frequently occurs in SouthEast Asia (SEA), which significantly affects the air quality and could consequently lead to adverse health effects. The aim of this study was to characterize particulate matter (PM) and black carbon (BC) emitted from BB source regions in SEA and their potential of deposition in the alveolar region of human lungs. A 31-day characterization of PM profiling was conducted at the Doi Ang Khang (DAK) meteorology station in northern Thailand in March 2013. Substantial numbers of PM (10147 ± 5800 # cm–3) with a geometric mean diameter (GMD) of 114.4 ± 9.2 nm were found at the study site. The PM of less than 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) hourly-average mass concentration was 78.0 ± 34.5 µg m–3, whereas the black carbon (BC) mass concentration was 4.4 ± 2.6 µg m–3. Notably, high concentrations of nanoparticle surface area (100.5 ± 54.6 µm2 cm–3) emitted from biomass burning can be inhaled into the human alveolar region. Significant correlations with fire counts within different ranges around DAK were found for particle number, the surface area concentration of alveolar deposition, and BC. In conclusion, biomass burning is an important PM source in SEA, particularly nanoparticles, which has high potency to be inhaled into the lung environment and interact with alveolar cells, leading to adverse respiratory effects. The fire counts within 100 to 150 km shows the highest Pearson's r for particle number and surface area concentration. It suggests 12 to 24 hr could be a fair time scale for initial aging process of BB aerosols. Importantly, the people lives in this region could have higher risk for PM exposure.


Air pollution Alveoli Biomass burning Black carbon Nanoparticle

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