Atmospheric oxidation of sesquiterpenes has been of considerable interest recently because of their likely contribution to ambient organic aerosol, but farnesene oxidation has been reported in only a few studies and with limited data. In the present study, a detailed chemical analysis of the organic fraction of gas and particle phases originating from the ozonolysis of a mixture of α-farnesene and β-farnesene was carried out in a 14.5 m3 smog chamber. More than 80 organic compounds bearing OH functionality were detected for the first time in this system in the gas and particle phases. The major secondary organic aerosol (SOA) components included conjugated α-farnesene trienols, hydroxyl carboxylic acid and its corresponding lactones, C3–C7 linear dicarboxylic acids, and hydroxy/carbonyl/carboxylic compounds. Of particular importance was 5,6-dihydroxy-6-methylheptan-2-one (DHMHO), which was detected at high concentration. In the gas phase, the main species identified were trienols and their corresponding epoxides and diepoxides. Proposed reaction schemes are provided for selected compounds. A similar analysis was performed for ambient PM2.5 samples collected during summer 2013 as part of the SOAS to determine farnesene contributions to PM2.5. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis were consistent with the occurrence of several farnesene SOA compounds, indicating the potential impact of farnesene on the regional aerosol burden. The high abundance of DHMHO in chamber SOA and its presence in ambient PM2.5 is particularly important because to our knowledge it is specific to farnesene and therefore could serve as an indicator for farnesene emitted into ambient aerosol. In the absence of authentic standards, however, it is difficult to accurately quantify the contribution of SOA originating from farnesene to ambient PM2.5.
Jaoui, M., Lewandowski, M., Offenberg, J. H., Docherty, K. S., & Kleindienst, T. E. (2017). Ozonolysis of Α/Β-farnesene mixture: Analysis of gas-phase and particulate reaction products. Atmospheric Environment, 169, 175–192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.08.065