Norhayati Mohd Tahir 1,2, Suhaimi Suratman1,2, Foo Toon Fong2, Mohd Suhaimi Hamzah3, Mohd Talib Latif4

  • 1 Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 2 Environmental Research Group, Department of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 3 Malaysian Nuclear Agency, Bangi, 4300 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
  • 4 School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi Selangor, Malaysia

Received: August 17, 2012
Revised: December 10, 2012
Accepted: December 10, 2012
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Cite this article:
Tahir, N.M., Suratman, S., Fong, F.T., Hamzah, M.S. and Latif, M.T. (2013). Temporal Distribution and Chemical Characterization of Atmospheric Particulate Matter in the Eastern Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 13: 584-595.



This study aims to determine the temporal distribution and composition of suspended particulate matter in different sizes PM2.5–10 (Coarse Particle, CP) and PM2.5 (Fine Particle, FP) for source apportionment analysis. CP and FP samples were collected using the Gent PM10 stacked filter unit (SFU) sampler at an urban coastal city of Kuala Terengganu, in Malaysia, from August 2006 to December 2007. Samples were analyzed for elemental concentrations using Inductive Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Inductive Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES). Water-soluble ionic species were determined using Ion Chromatography. The results show that the concentration range of the CP and FP fractions varied from 1.17 to 28.45 μg/m3 and from 3.82 to 35.58 µg/m3 with mean concentrations (n = 80) of 10.41 ± 5.40 µg/m3 and 14.31 ± 6.53 µg/m3, respectively. On average, the measured chemical species accounted ca. 54% of the coarse particles and 32% of the fine ones. Na+, SO42–, Cl, NO3, Al, Ca, Fe, K and Na were mainly in the coarse particle size range and accounted for ca. 52% of the coarse particle mass, while SO42–, NH4+, K+, Al, Ca, K and Na were mainly in fine particle size range and accounted for ca. 28% of the fine particle mass. The data sets were then analyzed using Principle Component Analysis (PCA) to identify the possible sources of these fine and coarse particles based on their chemical species. For both fractions, the sources were soil dust, marine aerosol, vehicle exhaust, secondary aerosol, road dust and biomass burning. In addition, crustal enrichment factors (cEF) were calculated, and the results were consistent with those of the PCA analysis.

Keywords: Principal component analysis; Enrichment factor; Source apportionment; Southern South China Sea; Fine and coarse particles

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