Identification of secondary fatty alcohols in atmospheric aerosols in temperate forests
Fatty alcohols (FAs) are major components of surface lipids (waxes) and can act as surface-active organic aerosols in the atmosphere, influencing chemical reactions, particle lifetimes, and the formation of cloud droplets and ice nuclei. However, studies on the composition and source of the FAs in atmospheric aerosols are very limited. In this study, we identified five secondary FAs (SFAs) with C27 and C29 from aerosol samples collected throughout 1 year at two different deciduous forest sites in Japan. Fatty diols, such as n-heptacosan-5,10-diol, were identified in atmospheric aerosols for the first time. Among the identified SFAs, n-nonacosan-10-ol was the most abundant compound, followed by n-nonacosan-5-10-diol at both of the forest sites. Concentrations of the SFAs exhibited distinct seasonal variation, with pronounced peaks during the growing season at each forest site. The SFAs showed significant correlation with sucrose, which is used as a molecular tracer of pollen. A significant fraction of the SFAs was attributed to the submicrometer particles in the growing season. The results indicate that they originated mostly from plant waxes and could be used as useful tracers for primary biological aerosol particles.