During the last few years, the rise in woody biomass combustion (BB) for household heating determined an increase of PM mass concentrations, in particular of the fine fraction, in Europe as reported by the European Environmental Agency. The estimation of biomass combustion contribution to airborne particulate matter is therefore an important issue for air quality governance, due to its potential health and environmental impacts. Wood burning contribution to PM10 was estimated in winter time at a rural site in southern Italy by means of two independent methods: Source Apportionment analysis with Positive Matrix Factorization (BBPMF) and Macro Tracer approach based on Levoglucosan concentrations (BBLevo). PM10 and PM2.5 samples were collected every 24 h and 8 h, respectively. Samples were analyzed to determine organic and elemental carbon, Levoglucosan, inorganic ions and elements.
The results obtained by means of the two independent methods revealed a good agreement (r = 0.85), with a linear correlation slope of about 1, providing a reliable assessment of biomass combustion contribution. Woody biomass combustion contributed significantly to PM10 during winter determining on average slightly less than 30% of total PM10 mass. The combination of the independent methods here proposed may be used as a methodology for refining BB emissions contribution to air pollution.