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Doctoral thesis, 2013

Particulate airborne impurities

Wilkinson, Kai


The cumulative effects of air pollutants are of principal concern in research on environmental protection in Sweden. Post-industrial society has imposed many limits on emitted air pollutants, yet the number of reports on the negative effects from them is increasing, largely due to human activity in the form of industrial emissions and increased traffic flows. Rising concerns over the health effects from airborne particulate matter (PM) stem from in vitro, in vivo, and cohort studies revealing effects of mostly negative nature. Full insight into the health effects from PM can only be achieved through practical investigation of the mode of toxicity from distinct types of particles and requires techniques for their identification, monitoring, and the production of model fractions for health studies. To this effect, comprehensive collection and chemical analysis of particulates at the origin of emission was performed in order to provide clearer insight into the nature of the particulates at exposure and add detail to aid risk assessment. Methods of capturing particles and analyzing their chemical nature were devised using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). Furthermore, taking the approach of in vitro cytotoxicity testing, nanoparticles of types typical to automotive emissions, were synthesized and extensively characterized using SEM-EDS, X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM),dynamic light scattering (DLS), and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). The produced model magnetite and palladium nanoparticles were found to induce toxicity in human pulmonary epithelial cells (A549 and PBEC) as well as impact severely on immunological and renal cells (221 B- and 293T-cells) in a dose-dependent manner.


air pollution; particulate matter; PM; nanoparticle; toxicity; monitoring; SEM-EDS; TEM

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2013, number: 2013:27
ISBN: 978-91-576-7792-1, eISBN: 978-91-576-7793-8
Publisher: Department of Chemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Wilkinson, Kai
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Chemistry

UKÄ Subject classification

Pharmacology and Toxicology
Environmental Sciences
Inorganic Chemistry

URI (permanent link to this page)