Micromorphology and chemistry of airborne particles in Brussels during agriculture working periods in surrounding region

Abstract

The main objective of our research was to compare the airborne particle micromorphology and chemistry in the Brussels environment during agriculture working periods in the surrounding farming region. We used specific methods and instrumentation that are adapted to the climate peculiarities of the Brussels region, the period of investigations (12 months) and the proposed objectives. For the agricultural works we defined the following six periods: before sowing, sowing, after sowing, before harvest, harvest and after harvest. The results indicate a possible temporal correlation between agricultural work periods and airborne particle concentration, micromorphology and chemistry in the Brabant–Brussels region. For wheat and corn plant-growth periods, the average particle size, defined as the area obtained by a planar projection of the particulate, showed important variations in time. For sugar beet and endive, the average area size variations are less important. The roughness and sphericity parameters for the growth periods of the four different plants also showed significant differences. Many of the larger particulates (>10 μm) are aggregates of even finer particles coated with many still finer ones. The airborne particle chemistry averages (atomic percentage At%), showed that three constituents (Si, S and Fe) dominate all the samples (except for particles 3–10 μm in size, which contain a relatively large percentage of Al).

Applying similar investigation methods to study the correlations between airborne particle dynamics in urban zones and the agriculture working periods in their surrounding regions could be of interest to better understand the complexity of the PM problematic.

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Correspondence to E. Zaady.

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Vanderstraeten, P., Lénelle, Y., Meurrens, A. et al. Micromorphology and chemistry of airborne particles in Brussels during agriculture working periods in surrounding region. Environ Monit Assess 146, 33–39 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-007-0057-9

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Keywords

  • Aeolian particles
  • Sowing
  • Harvesting
  • PM10 and PM2.5
  • Perimeter
  • Particle area
  • Roughness
  • Sphericity
  • SEM