Characterisation of airborne biological particles using Ultraviolet Light Induced Fluorescence (UV-LIF) instrumentation

Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) encompass a broad range of particles including pollens, fungal spores, bacteria, viruses, in addition to other biological matter in the atmosphere such as plant and animal debris. Though these particles are abundant in the atmosphere, they remain poorly constrained owing to difficulties in characterising the identity and origin of these particulates in differing environments. The diversity of different biological particulates were compared using an Ultra-Violet Light Induced Fluorescence (UV-LIF) Spectrometer to collect data from four different sites in the United Kingdom (Chilbolton, Capel Dewi, Weybourne, and Davidstow) during different years, and time-period of year.

Particles were studied following Hierarchical agglomerative cluster (HAC) analysis, and characterised using new and existing laboratory data, and meteorological variables, temperature and relative humidity, and wind speed and direction. The potential sources of these particles were then inferred using local land cover types as identified using ArcGIS. At most sites, there was an identified dominance of wet-discharged fungal spores, with the exception of one site, Davidstow, which had higher concentrations of bacteria, suggested to result from the presence of a local dairy factory. The sources of the wet-discharged fungal spores were inferred to originate from arable and horticultural land at Chilbolton, and improved grassland areas at Weybourne and Capel Dewi.

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