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Isoprene and monoterpene measurements in a secondary forest in northern Benin

by J. E. Saxton, A. C. Lewis, J. H. Kettlewell, M. Z. Ozel, F. Gogus, Y. Boni, S. O. U. Korogone, D. Serca
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Abstract

The biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) composition of ambient air at a rural field site near Djougou, Benin has been studied as part of the AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) project. Ambient air was sampled during day and night during the period 2 June 2006 to 13 June 2006. Gas samples from within the forest canopy and from branch and cuvette enclosure systems for four vegetation species were also obtained and emissions flux estimates made. All samples were analysed for the presence of isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes by either gas chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS) or comprehensive gas chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOF/MS). Concentrations of isoprene ranged from a few tens of pptV to in excess of 3000 pptV. Similar concentration ranges for certain monoterpenes were also observed. Limonene was seen at a maximum concentration in ambient air of 5000 pptV. The combination of leaf-level observations and direct analysis of dried vegetation samples suggests that emissions of terpene species from indigenous species are unlikely to account for the unexpectedly high ambient concentrations of monoterpenes. Leaf scale emission measurements and biological sample analysis indicated that Anacardium occidentale, a non-native crop species found throughout the tropics, was the dominant source of monoterpenes at this location. These preliminary findings suggest that activities involving species replacement have potential implications for the chemistry of the African troposphere that have not been widely considered previously.

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