Suman Yadav1,2, Taveen Singh Kapoor1, Pradnya Vernekar1, Harish C. Phuleria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2 

1 Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Powai, Mumbai-400076, India
2 Environmental Science and Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Powai, Mumbai-400076, India

Received: June 3, 2023
Revised: August 21, 2023
Accepted: August 22, 2023

 Copyright The Author(s). 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.

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Yadav, S., Kapoor, T.S., Vernekar, P., Phuleria, H.C. (2023). Examining the Chemical and Optical Properties of Biomass-burning Aerosols and their Impact on Oxidative Potential. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 23, 230102.


  • Elemental carbon (EC1) showed significant association with oxidative potential
  • Water-soluble absorbing aerosols and BC also associated with oxidative potential.
  • Aerosols emitted from solid biomass fuel cooking are highly oxidising in nature.


The use of biomass fuels for cooking persists on a large scale in rural areas of many low-and middle-income countries, including India. Exposure to emissions from biomass cooking is linked with adverse respiratory health outcomes - likely mediated through the oxidative potential of particulate matter (PM). This study aims to measure the oxidative potential (OP) of biomass aerosols in rural kitchens and examine its association with aerosol chemical and optical properties. Field measurements were conducted to collect PM2.5 from biomass fuel cooking in rural Maharashtra, India. Chemical and optical methods were employed to understand PM characteristics, while OP was measured using Dithiothreitol (DTT) assay. The average (± SD) indoor PM2.5, OC, EC, BC, and WSOC during cooking using biomass fuels were 1025 ± 1001, 203 ± 196, 140 ± 133, 112 ± 61, and 130 ± 118 µg m–3, respectively, and the corresponding village outdoor levels were ~12.8 (p = 0.04), 4.9 (p = 0.14), 19.8 (p = 0.09), 23.6 (p = 0.01), and 8.1 (p = 0.12) folds (statistical significance of difference) lower, respectively. The volume normalized oxidative potential (DTTv) of PM from biomass cooking was 25.3 nmol DTT min–1 m–3, which was an order of magnitude higher redox active than rural ambient PM. Carbonaceous components of the PM correlated positively with the OP, having a significant association with EC1 (R = 0.83), BC (R = 0.93), and absorption coefficient (WSOC babs, 365) (R = 0.97). Our findings suggest that emissions from biomass cooking may pose a substantial risk to a large population, in particular to women and young children in rural areas and that the toxicity of the emitted PM from biomass cooking is likely due to soot and the absorbing OC in PM.

Keywords: Biomass fuels, Cooking, Oxidative potential, Organic carbon, Rural areas

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