Characterization of carbonyl compounds in the ambient air of an industrial city in Korea.

Research paper by Young-Kyo YK Seo, Sung-Ok SO Baek

Indexed on: 22 Feb '12Published on: 22 Feb '12Published in: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)


The purpose of this study was to characterize spatial and temporal variations of carbonyl compounds in Gumi city, where a number of large electronic-industrial complexes are located. Carbonyl samples were collected at five sites in the Gumi area: three industrial, one commercial, and one residential area. Sampling was carried out throughout a year from December 2003 to November 2004. At one industrial site, samples were taken every six days, while those of the other sites were for seven consecutive days in every season. Each sample was collected for 150 minutes and at intervals of three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). A total of 476 samples were analyzed to determine 15 carbonyl compounds by the USEPA TO-11A (DNPH-cartridge/HPLC) method. In general, acetaldehyde appeared to be the most abundant compound, followed by formaldehyde, and acetone+acrolein. Mean concentrations of acetaldehyde were two to three times higher in the industrial sites than in the other sites, with its maximum of 77.7 ppb. In contrast, ambient levels of formaldehyde did not show any significant difference between the industrial and non-industrial groups. Its concentrations peaked in summer probably due to the enhanced volatilization and photochemical reactivity. These results indicate significant emission sources of acetaldehyde in the Gumi industrial complexes. Mean concentrations of organic solvents (such as acetone+acrolein and methyl ethyl ketone) were also significantly high in industrial areas. In conclusion, major sources of carbonyl compounds, including acetaldehyde, are strongly associated with industrial activities in the Gumi city area.