Chemical and toxicological characterization of particulate emissions from diesel vehicles

Bei Wang, Yik Sze Lau, Yuhan Huang, Bruce Organ, Hsiao Chi Chuang, Steven Sai Hang Ho, Linli Qu, Shun Cheng Lee, Kin Fai Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a detailed chemical and toxicological characterization of the diesel particulate matter (PM) emitted from diesel vehicles running on a chassis dynamometer under different driving conditions. Chemical analyses were performed to characterize the contents of organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and 31 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the collected PM samples. The OC–EC analysis results revealed that PM emissions from diesel vehicles in this study were dominated by OC and that the emission of vehicles equipped with diesel particulate filters had high OC/EC ratios. The PAH analysis results revealed that 4- and 5-ring PAHs were the dominant PAHs in the OC fraction of the PM samples. Particle toxicity was evaluated through three toxicological markers in human A549 cells, namely (1) acellular 2,7-dichlorofluorescein (DCFH) for oxidative potential, (2) interleukin-6 (IL-6) for inflammation, and (3) glutathione (GSH) for antioxidation after exposure. Statistical analyses revealed that vehicle sizes have statistically significant effects on the concentrations of the markers. Correlation analysis between PAHs and toxicological markers revealed that significant correlations existed between specific compounds and markers. Our results can be used as a reference by policy makers to formulate emission control strategies and as a dataset for other modeling studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124613
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 2021


  • Chassis dynamometer
  • DCFH
  • Driving cycle
  • Glutathione (GSH)
  • Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
  • OCEC
  • PAH
  • PM emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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