Title

Effect of Bark Beetle Infestation on Secondary Organic Aerosol Precursor Emissions

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Environmental Science & Technology

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

Bark beetles are a potentially destructive force in forest ecosystems; however, it is not known how insect attacks affect the atmosphere. The emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were sampled i.) from bark beetle infested and healthy lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) trees and ii.) from sites with and without active mountain pine beetle infestation. The emissions from the trunk and the canopy were collected via sorbent traps. After collection, the sorbent traps were extracted with hexane, and the extracts were separated and detected using gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. Canister samples were also collected and analyzed by a multicolumn gas chromatographic system. The samples from bark beetle infested lodgepole pine trees suggest a 5- to 20-fold enhancement in total VOCs emissions. Furthermore, increases in the β-phellandrene emissions correlated with bark beetle infestation. A shift in the type and the quantity of VOC emissions can be used to identify bark beetle infestation but, more importantly, can lead to increases in secondary organic aerosol from these forests as potent SOA precursors are produced.

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