Assessment of Reliability when Using Diagnostic Binary Ratios of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Ambient Air PM10


The reliability of using diagnostic binary ratios of particulate carcinogenic  polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs) as chemical tracers for source characterisation was assessed by collecting PM10 samples from various air quality observatory sites in Thailand. The major objectives of this research were to evaluate the effects of day and night on the alterations of six different PAH diagnostic binary ratios: An (An + Phe), Fluo/(Fluo + Pyr), B[a]A/(B[a]A + Chry), B[a]P/(B[a]P + B[e]P), Ind/(Ind + B[g,h,i]P), and B[k]F/Ind, and to investigate the impacts of site-specific conditions on the alterations of PAH diagnostic binary ratios by applying the concept of the coefficient of divergence (COD). No significant differences between day and night were found for any of the diagnostic binary ratios of PAHs, which indicates that the photodecomposition process is of minor importance in terms of PAH reduction. Interestingly, comparatively high values of COD for An (An + Phe) in PM10 collected from sites with heavy traffic and in residential zones underline the influence of heterogeneous reactions triggered by oxidising gaseous species from vehicular exhausts. Therefore, special attention must be paid when interpreting the data of these diagnostic binary ratios, particularly for cases of low-molecular weight PAHs.