Ying I. Tsai 1,2,3, Khajornsak Sopajaree1, Su-Ching Kuo4, Ting-Yi Hsin2

  • 1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
  • 2 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan City 71710, Taiwan
  • 3 Indoor Air Quality Research and Service Center, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, 60, Sec. 1, Erren Rd., Rende Dist., Tainan 71710, Taiwan
  • 4 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, 60, Sec. 1, Erren Rd., Rende Dist., Tainan 71710, Taiwan

Received: September 27, 2015
Revised: November 9, 2015
Accepted: November 10, 2015
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2015.09.0566  

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Cite this article:
Tsai, Y.I., Sopajaree, K., Kuo, S.C. and Hsin, T.Y. (2015). Chemical Composition and Size-Fractionated Origins of Aerosols over a Remote Coastal Site in Southern Taiwan. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 15: 2549-2570. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2015.09.0566


  • Cl-depletion was higher during the day due to reactive photochemical products.
  • LMW carboxylates mainly formed by photochemical conversion at the open coastal site.
  • Only a trace amount of Levoglucosan, an indicator of biomass burning, was detected.
  • Aerosols from Southeast Asia and southern China were transported to the study area.
  • Long range transport effect is supported during the day by onshore breezes.



In spring 2013 air samples were collected from a coastal site in the sparsely populated far south-west of Taiwan and analysed for ambient gases, inorganic salts, carboxylates, and saccharides. Concentration of ambient gases was in the order SO2 > HCl > HNO3 > NH3 > HNO2. Day-night variation in concentrations indicated that photochemical conversion of HNO2 to HNO3 occurs during the day. PM2.5 (16.16 ± 5.30 µg m–3) accounted for 61.1% of PM10 mass concentrations. The main inorganic salts were SO42–, NH4+, Na+, NO3, and Cl, collectively accounting for 48.8 ± 27.4% of the PM2.5. Cl-depletion during the day was higher than during the night due to the presence of reactive photochemical products. The average Cl-depletion of PM2.5 (53.1%) was markedly higher than that of PM2.5–10 (26.0%), indicating that in PM2.5, a high amount of Cl– reacts with acidic gases to form HCl, which then escapes into the atmosphere. The carboxylate concentration in PM2.5 was 0.50 ± 0.24 µg m–3. It was found that low-molecular-weight carboxylates formed more readily in the open coastal region than in urban regions of southern Taiwan. Additionally, the daily mean ratio of Oxalate/non-sea-salt SO42– (6.15 ± 2.28%) in the coastal region was higher than that in the urban regions in southern Taiwan. The most prevalent saccharide in PM2.5 was myo-inosital (333 ± 300 µg m–3), a type of soil fungus metabolite. Emissions of arabitol and mannitol, emitted through lichen and fungal activity, were markedly higher during the day. Only a trace amount (8.92 ± 16.92 µg m–3) of Levoglucosan (Levo), an indicator of biomass burning, was detected. The mean Levo/organic carbon ratio was 5.04 ± 8.72‰, suggesting that biomass burning contributed slightly to aerosols in the study area. An analysis of air mass backward trajectories showed that the products of biomass burning in Southeast Asia and southern China may be transported to the study area through long-range transport. This effect is more noticeable during the day when onshore breezes support the transport of particles sourced from the west of Taiwan.

Keywords: Biomass burning; Hengchun Peninsula; Carboxylates; Saccharides; Cl-depletion

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