Role of interfacial water in the heterogeneous uptake of glyoxal by mixed glycine and ammonium sulfate aerosols

Miri Trainic, Ali Abo Riziq, Avi Lavi, Yinon Rudich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on the heterogeneous reactions of gas phase glyoxal with aerosols of glycine, the most abundant amino acid in atmospheric aerosols, as well as with a mixture of glycine and ammonium sulfate (AS) at a molar ratio of 1:100 (glycine-AS 1:100). Aerosols were exposed to varying relative humidity (RH) conditions in the presence of gas phase glyoxal for ∼1 h, followed by drying and efflorescence. The changes in size, chemical composition, and optical properties were consequently measured. The reactions occur over a wide range of relative humidities, from ∼30% up to 90% RH, covering values that are substantially lower as well as above the deliquescence point of the investigated aerosols. The product aerosols exhibit a trend of increasing growth in size, in optical extinction cross sections, and in extinction efficiencies (at λ = 355 nm) with decreasing seed aerosol size, and with decreasing RH values from 90% to ∼50%. For glycine-AS 1:100 particles, the ratio of the geometric cross section of the product aerosol to the original seed aerosol reached a value of ∼3, the optical extinction cross section ratio was up to ∼25, and the Q ext ratio was up to ∼8, exceeding those of both AS and glycine separately, suggesting a synergistic effect. Aerosol mass spectrometer analyses show that the main products of all the studied reactions are glyoxal oligomers (light scattering compounds), with a minor contribution from imidazoles (absorbing compounds at λ = 355 nm). These findings imply that the changes in the optical properties are likely due to enhanced scattering by the reaction products. The fraction of absorbing substances in the reacted aerosol increases with increasing RH, suggesting that the absorption component may become more substantial after longer reaction times, possibly in cloud or fog droplets. The results suggest that these reactions are possibly important in low RH regions, plausibly due to the reaction occurring in a few interfacial monolayers of water well before deliquescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5948-5957
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number24
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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