To sonicate or not to sonicate PM filters: Reactive Oxygen Species generation upon ultrasonic irradiation
Miljevic, Branka, Hedayat, Farzaneh, Stevanovic, Svetlana, Fairfull-Smith, Kathryn E., Bottle, Steven, & Ristovski, Zoran (2014) To sonicate or not to sonicate PM filters: Reactive Oxygen Species generation upon ultrasonic irradiation. Aerosol Science and Technology, 48(12), pp. 1276-1284.
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In aerosol research, a common approach for the collection of particulate matter (PM) is the use of filters in order to obtain sufficient material to undertake analysis. For subsequent chemical and toxicological analyses, in most of cases the PM needs to be extracted from the filters. Sonication is commonly used to most efficiently extract the PM from the filters. Extraction protocols generally involve 10 - 60 min of sonication. The energy of ultrasonic waves causes the formation and collapse of cavitation bubbles in the solution. Inside the collapsing cavities the localised temperatures and pressures can reach extraordinary values. Although fleeting, such conditions can lead to pyrolysis of the molecules present inside the cavitation bubbles (gases dissolved in the liquid and solvent vapours), which results in the production of free radicals and the generation of new compounds formed by reactions with these free radicals. For example, simple sonication of pure water will result in the formation of detectable levels of hydroxyl radicals. As hydroxyl radicals are recognised as playing key roles as oxidants in the atmosphere the extraction of PM from filters using sonication is therefore problematic. Sonication can result in significant chemical and physical changes to PM through thermal degradation and other reactions. In this article, an overview of sonication technique as used in aerosol research is provided, the capacity for radical generation under these conditions is described and an analysis is given of the impact of sonication-derived free radicals on three molecular probes commonly used by researchers in this field to detect Reactive Oxygen Species in PM.
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