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Methyl chavicol: characterization of its biogenic emission rate, abundance, and oxidation products in the atmosphere

Bouvier-Brown N, Goldstein A, Worton D, Matross D, Gilman J, Kuster W, Welsh-Bon D, Warneke C, de Gouw J, Cahill T, Holzinger R ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 9, issue 6 (2009) pp. 2061-2074

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Abstract

We report measurements of ambient atmospheric mixing ratios for methyl chavicol and determine its biogenic emission rate. Methyl chavicol, a biogenic oxygenated aromatic compound, is abundant within and above Blodgett Forest, a ponderosa pine forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Methyl chavicol was detected simultaneously by three in-situ instruments – a gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer detector (GC-MS), a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS), and a thermal desorption aerosol GC-MS (TAG) – and found to be abundant within and above Blodgett Forest. Methyl chavicol atmospheric mixing ratios are strongly correlated with 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (MBO), a light- and temperature-dependent biogenic emission from the ponderosa pine trees at Blodgett Forest. Scaling from this correlation, methyl chavicol emissions account for 4–68% of the carbon mass emitted as MBO in the daytime, depending on the season. From this relationship, we estimate a daytime basal emission rate of 0.72–10.2 μgCg−1 h−1, depending on needle age and seasonality. We also present the first observations of its oxidation products (4-methoxybenzaldehyde and 4-methyoxy benzene acetaldehyde) in the ambient atmosphere. Methyl chavicol is a major essential oil component of many plant species. This work suggests that methyl chavicol plays a significant role in the atmospheric chemistry of Blodgett Forest, and potentially other sites, and should be included explicitly in both biogenic volatile organic carbon emission and atmospheric chemistry models.

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Authors

  • N. C. Bouvier-Brown

  • A. H. Goldstein

  • D. R. Worton

  • D. M. Matross

  • J. B. Gilman

  • W. C. Kuster

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