Leandro Gómez-Plata This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Dayana Agudelo-Castañeda2, Margarita Castillo1, Elba C. Teixeira3 

1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Corporation Universitario Reformada, Barranquilla, Colombia
2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia
3 Postgraduate Program in Remote Sensing, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Received: October 23, 2021
Revised: June 6, 2022
Accepted: July 14, 2022

 Copyright The Author's institutions. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited. 

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210293  

Cite this article:

Gómez-Plata, L., Agudelo-Castañeda, D., Castillo, M., Teixeira, E.C. (2022). PM10 Source Identification: A Case of a Coastal City in Colombia. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210293


  • Mineral matter species were the largest PM10 component representing 30–41% of PM10 mass.
  • Higher levels of PM10 pollution were observed in southeast of study area.
  • Good correlations between OC and EC show a high contribution of SOA.
  • Major sources of PM10 were road dust resuspension, biomass burning, traffic, and heavy-oil combustion.
  • High concentrations of Cu and Pb revealed the presence of irregular smelter processes.


This paper assesses the spatial variation of EC, OC, major, and trace elements in an industrialized coastal city, allowing identification and tracers of PM10 emission sources. 83 samples (24h average) were collected on quartz filters during the dry season using high-volume samplers. Major and trace elements were analyzed using ICP-AES and ICP-MS, whereas a thermal/optical carbon analyzer was used to determine OC and EC. Chemical characterization of major elements, SiO2, SO42-, MgO, and CaO, showed high spatial variation between sites. The abundance of these major elements and OC confirmed the effect of exposed land resuspension and road dust; mutually with the production of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Trace elements showed high values of Cu, Pb, Mn, and V, indicating the influence of road traffic and some industries (Cu) and oil burning (V and Mn). Enrichment Factor analysis revealed that Mg, P, S, Cu, and Pb were highly/moderately enriched indicating the substantial contribution of anthropogenic sources. Results of diagnostic ratios and PMF receptor model of the spatially obtained data suggested major sources of PM10 as traffic-related emissions, heavy fuel oil combustion, biomass burning, and industrial processes. Back trajectory analysis (HYSPLIT) indicated air masses were coming from the North-East region of the Atlantic Ocean as the principal origin.

Keywords: PM10, SPATIAL variation, PMF model, Enrichment factor, TRACE elements

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