23 May 2023
 | 23 May 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Real-world observations of ultrafine particles and reduced nitrogen in commercial cooking organic aerosol emissions

Sunhye Kim, Jo Machesky, Drew R. Gentner, and Albert A. Presto

Abstract. Cooking is an important but understudied source of urban anthropogenic fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Using a mobile laboratory, we measured PM size and composition in urban restaurant  plumes. Size distribution measurements indicate that restaurants are a source of urban ultrafine particles (UFPs, particles <100 nm diameter), with a mode diameter <50 nm across sampled restaurants and particle number concentrations (PNC, a proxy for UFPs) that were substantially elevated relative to the urban background. The majority of observed PM was organic aerosol (OA) by mass. Aerosol mass spectra show that while emissions from most restaurants were similar, there were key mass spectral differences. All restaurants emit OA at m/z 41, 43, and 55, though the composition (e.g., the ratio of oxygenated to reduced ions at specific m/z) varied across locations. All restaurant emissions included reduced nitrogen species detected as CxHyN+ fragments, making up ~15 % of OA mass measured in plumes, with reduced molecular functionalities (e.g., amines, imides) that were often accompanied by oxygen-containing functional groups. The largest reduced nitrogen emissions were observed from a commercial bread bakery (i.e., 30–50 % of OA mass), highlighting the marked differences between restaurants and their importance for emissions of both urban UFPs and reduced nitrogen.

Sunhye Kim et al.

Status: open (until 04 Jul 2023)

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Sunhye Kim et al.


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Short summary
Cooking emissions are often an overlooked source of air pollution. To better understand them, we used a mobile laboratory and measured the characteristics of particles emitted by cooking sites in two cities. Our findings show that cooking releases a substantial number of fine particles into the air. While most emissions were similar, a bakery site showed differences with higher nitrogen compound levels. Thus, understanding particle emissions from different cooking activities is crucial.