Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Conifer Scent Influences Climate

10.01.2014
Detection by IR: The ozonolysis of terpenes forms Criegee intermediates that oxidize SO2

Conifers emit volatile hydrocarbons, primarily terpenes, which we experience as the characteristic smell of the woods.



In a complicated series of reactions involving ozone and sulfur dioxide, these compounds may be involved in the formation of aerosols that counteract the greenhouse effect. German scientists have now been able to follow the reaction of a terpene with ozone in the laboratory by using infrared (IR) spectroscopy.

As they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they were able to identify critical intermediates of this process, namely the Criegee intermediates. They were also able to verify that these intermediates react very efficiently with sulfur dioxide.

Terpenes have a strong influence on the chemical processes that occur in the earth’s atmosphere, even though they are only present in trace amounts. Particularly in summer, these compounds are involved in the ozone chemistry of the troposphere. It has been shown that their oxidation plays a large role in the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs), which influence our climate.

These processes have not yet been completely explained and represent a large source of uncertainty in climate-prediction models. Researchers working with Thomas Zeuch at the University of Göttingen and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now gained new insights into the reactions of terpenes with ozone.

SOAs are liquid or solid particles that contain sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and are formed from gaseous precursors such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and terpenes. Atmospheric sulfuric acid and the sulfuric acid and sulfate aerosol particles that are formed from it also contribute to acid rain. “At the same time, they work against the greenhouse effect,” explains Zeuch, “because they both promote cloud formation and reflect the sun’s radiation back into space.”

How does sulfuric acid get into the troposphere? “In addition to a sequence of reactions that starts with the oxidation of sulfur dioxide by hydroxyl radicals, an alternative pathway of oxidation by Criegee intermediates (CIs) has been proposed,” says Zeuch. These compounds are carbonyl oxides with two free-radical centers that account for their unusual chemistry. They are formed by the reaction of ozone with the double bonds in organic compounds such as terpenes. Until now, only small CIs formed through photolysis have been directly detected. In their study, Zeuch and his co-workers have now examined the reactions of the terpene called β-pinene, which is often found in plants, with ozone.

“By using IR spectroscopy, we were able to detect large, stabilized CIs formed during the ozonolysis of pinene for the first time,” reports Zeuch. “These large CIs reacted with sulfur dioxide to form sulfur trioxide with a yield of over 80 %. Time-resolved experiments revealed that this reaction is very fast.” This unequivocally proves that SO2 is efficiently oxidized to tropospheric sulfuric acid by reaction with stabilized Criegee intermediates from terpenes.

About the Author
Dr. Thomas Zeuch is group leader and lecturer at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Göttingen University. The research in his team is dedicated to unravel the chemistry behind the formation of new particles in air. Zeuch and his co-workers try to trace this chemistry on the microscopic level by means of new infrared spectroscopic methods.

Author: Thomas Zeuch, Universität Göttingen (Germany), http://www.uni-pc.gwdg.de/zeuch/

Title: Infrared Detection of Criegee Intermediates Formed during the Ozonolysis of β-Pinene and Their Reactivity towards Sulfur Dioxide

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201307327

Thomas Zeuch | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The herbivore dilemma: How corn plants fights off simultaneous attacks
09.02.2016 | Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

nachricht Shedding Light on Bacteria
09.02.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Using renewable energy in heating networks more efficiently

09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>