Characterisation of biofluorescent aerosol emissions over winter and summer periods in the United Kingdom

Elizabeth Forde, Martin Gallagher, Virginia Foot, Roland Sarda-Esteve, Ian Crawford, Paul Kaye, Warren Stanley, David Topping

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) are an abundant subset of atmospheric aerosol particles which comprise viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, pollen, and fragments such as plant and animal debris. The abundance and diversity of
these particles remain poorly constrained, causing significant uncertainties for modelling scenarios and for understanding the potential implications of these particles in different environments. PBAP concentrations were studied at four different sites in the United Kingdom (Weybourne, Davidstow, Capel Dewi, and Chilbolton) using an ultra-violet light induced fluorescence (UV-LIF) instrument, the Wideband Integrated Bioaerosol Spectrometer (WIBS), versions 3 and 4.

Using hierarchical agglomerative cluster (HAC) analysis, particles were statistically discriminated between. Fluorescent particles and clusters were then analysed by assessing their diurnal variation and their relationship to the meteorological variables, temperature and relative humidity, and wind speed and direction. Using local land cover types, sources of the suspected fluorescent particles and clusters were then identified.

Most sites exhibited a wet discharged fungal spore dominance, with the exception of one site, Davidstow, which had higher concentrations of bacteria, suggested to result from the presence of a local dairy factory. Differences were identified as to the sources of wet discharged fungal spores, with particles originating from arable and horticultural land at Chilbolton, and improved grassland areas at Weybourne. Total fluorescent particles at Capel Dewi were inferred to comprise two sources, with bacteria originating from the broadleaf and coniferous woodland and wet discharged fungal spores from nearby improved grassland areas, similar to Weybourne.

The use of HAC and a higher fluorescence threshold (9SD) produced clusters which were considered to be biological following the complete analysis. More knowledge of the reaction of speciated biological particles to differences in meteorology,
such as relative humidity and temperature would aid characterisation studies such as this.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCopernicus Gesellschaft mbH
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameAtmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions
PublisherCopernicus Gesellschaft mbH
ISSN (Print)1867-8610


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