Quantitative measurements of the generation of hydroxyl radicals by soot particles in a surrogate lung fluid

Heejung Jung, Bing Guo, Cort Anastasio, Ian M. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Epidemiological and toxicological studies have shown a relation between the inhalation of atmospheric particles and adverse cardiopulmonary health effects. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by particles is one current hypothesis for their toxic effects. Thus a quantitative measurement of ROS is important since that will be an index to assess the oxidative stress that particles may cause in the lung. We have developed a technique to quantitatively and specifically measure .OH (the strongest biological ROS) in an aqueous, buffered extract solution as a surrogate lung fluid (SLF). Using this technique we quantitatively measured .OH formation in SLF containing hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) for samples of flame soot particles, carbon black, and ambient fine particles (PM2.5). We have found that .OH is formed by flame soot, independent of transition metals, with a dose-dependent linear response that depends upon HOOH concentration. Experiments with carbon black revealed that its mass-normalized .OH generation was ∼10 times lower than that of flame soot, suggesting that carbon black is not a good surrogate for soot particles in health effect studies, at least in terms of oxidative stress. Mass-normalized .OH generation by ambient PM2.5 was 6-30 times larger than that of flame soot. While much of the PM2.5 reactivity was suppressed by pretreating samples with a transition metal chelator, there was a significant fraction of reactivity which was not affected. Our results suggest that the in vivo generation of free radicals, specifically .OH, by inhalation of PM2.5 is partially due to carbonaceous soot as well as transition metals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1052
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Combustion
  • Health effect
  • Oxidative stress
  • PM2.5
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Soot
  • Transition metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution


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