Emerging investigator series: oxidative potential of diesel exhaust particles: role of fuel, engine load, and emissions control†
Exposure to diesel exhaust particles (DEP) has been linked to adverse human health outcomes. DEPs are reactive and can directly or indirectly lead to oxidative stress, which promotes inflammation in the body. The oxidative potential (OP) of DEPs is not well understood, particularly for combustion with alternative fuels, under different engine loads, and in combination with modern emissions control devices. In this study, we measured the OP of DEPs using a dithiothreitol assay (OP-DTT) from a modern-day non-road diesel engine for two different fuels (conventional diesel and soy-based biodiesel), two different engine loads (idle and 50% load), and with and without an emissions control system. The OP-DTT of DEPs was sensitive to the fuel used and the presence of an emissions control system but not to the engine load. On average, the use of biodiesel resulted in factor of ∼6 reduction in OP-DTT normalized to the DEP mass and a factor of ∼12 reduction in OP-DTT normalized to the fuel consumed. The use of the emissions control, on average, resulted in a factor of ∼6 reduction in OP-DTT normalized to the DEP mass and a three order of magnitude decrease in OP-DTT normalized to the fuel consumed. When studied in conjunction with the DEP composition, the OP-DTT seemed to correlate most strongly with elemental carbon (EC), followed by semi-volatile organic vapors. Assays performed on DEPs where EC was deliberately filtered out suggested that the species responsible for the OP-DTT might be correlated with EC but would need to be water soluble (e.g., quinones). The semi-volatile organic vapors accounted for more than a quarter of the OP-DTT of DEPs collected on the quartz filters. Finally, sensitivity studies performed with a different filter membrane (i.e., Teflon®) and solvent (i.e., dichloromethane) tended to increase the OP-DTT value. OP-DTT is emerging as an important metric for studying the adverse effects of DEPs and PM2.5 on human health; results of this work help define the sources and components of diesel PM2.5 that contribute to OP-DTT.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigator Series