Issue 5, 2022

Emission of primary bioaerosol particles from Baltic seawater


Bioaerosols are particles of biological origin with various important atmospheric implications, for example, within cloud formation where bioaerosols can act as cloud condensation or ice nuclei. Their sources and properties, however, are poorly understood. We conducted a controlled sea spray experiment to determine the properties and emission of primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) originating from Baltic seawater. Using a single-particle fluorescence and light-scattering instrument, the Multiparameter Bioaerosol Spectrometer (MBS), we differentiated PBAP within sea spray aerosol (SSA). Overall, approximately 1 in 104 particles larger than 0.8 μm in diameter were classified as PBAP. The optically-determined morphology of the nascent and fluorescent SSA particles showed a clear transition in symmetry and elongation most likely due to changes in the biogeochemical properties of the surface water. These shifts were also reflected in a clear change of the bacterial community composition of the aerosol and seawater as determined by 16S rRNA-gene analysis, which were significantly distinct from each other, suggesting a preferential emission of specific bacteria to the atmosphere. Our results demonstrate the capability of the MBS to identify and count PBAP within SSA on a single-particle basis and will help to better constrain the emission of marine PBAP and their dependence on the seawater's biogeochemical properties.

Graphical abstract: Emission of primary bioaerosol particles from Baltic seawater

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Article information

Article type
24 Apr 2022
07 Aug 2022
First published
10 Aug 2022
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Environ. Sci.: Atmos., 2022,2, 1170-1182

Emission of primary bioaerosol particles from Baltic seawater

G. P. Freitas, C. Stolle, P. H. Kaye, W. Stanley, D. P. R. Herlemann, M. E. Salter and P. Zieger, Environ. Sci.: Atmos., 2022, 2, 1170 DOI: 10.1039/D2EA00047D

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