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Free amino acid quantification in cloud water at the Puy de Dôme station (France)

Abstract : Eighteen free amino acids (FAAs) were quantified in cloud water sampled at the Puy de Dôme station (PUY - France) during 13 cloud events. This quantification has been performed without concentration or derivatization, using liquid chromatography hyphened to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and the standard addition method to correct for matrix effects. Total concentrations of FAAs (TCAAs) vary from 1.2 to 7.7 µM, Ser (serine) being the most abundant AA (23.7 % on average) but with elevated standard deviation, followed by glycine (Gly) (20.5 %), alanine (Ala) (11.9 %), asparagine (Asn) (8.7 %), and leucine/isoleucine (Leu/I) (6.4 %). The distribution of AAs among the cloud events reveals high variability. TCAA constitutes between 0.5 and 4.4 % of the dissolved organic carbon measured in the cloud samples. AA quantification in cloud water is scarce, but the results agree with the few studies that investigated AAs in this aqueous medium. The environmental variability is assessed through a statistical analysis. This work shows that AAs are correlated with the time spent by the air masses within the boundary layer, especially over the sea surface before reaching the PUY. The cloud microphysical properties' fluctuation does not explain the AA variability in our samples, confirming previous studies at the PUY. We finally assessed the sources and the atmospheric processes that potentially explain the prevailing presence of certain AAs in the cloud samples. The initial relative distribution of AAs in biological matrices (proteins extracted from bacterial cells or mammalian cells, for example) could explain the dominance of Ala, Gly, and Leu/I. AA composition of aquatic organisms (i.e., diatom species) could also explain the high concentrations of Ser in our samples. The analysis of the AA hygroscopicity also indicates a higher contribution of AAs (80 % on average) that are hydrophilic or neutral, revealing the fact that other AAs (hydrophobic) are less favorably incorporated into cloud droplets. Finally, the atmospheric aging of AAs has been evaluated by calculating atmospheric lifetimes considering their potential transformation in the cloud medium by biotic or abiotic (mainly oxidation) processes. The most concentrated AAs encountered in our samples present the longest atmospheric lifetimes, and the less dominant ones are clearly efficiently transformed in the atmosphere, potentially explaining their low concentrations. However, this cannot fully explain the relative contribution of several AAs in the cloud samples. This reveals the high complexity of the bio-physico-chemical processes occurring in the multiphase atmospheric environment.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 3:44:39 PM
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Pascal Renard, Maxence Brissy, Florent Rossi, Martin Leremboure, Saly Jaber, et al.. Free amino acid quantification in cloud water at the Puy de Dôme station (France). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2022, 22 (4), pp.2467-2486. ⟨10.5194/acp-22-2467-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03610690⟩

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