TOPIC I "Aerosol Chemistry"


Within the framework of the HICE project ( emissions of typical anthropogenic combustion sources are investigated. A wide range of technical equipment at the University of Eastern Finland and at the University of Rostock: boilers, stoves, automotive engines and marine diesel engines are investigated. Emission aerosols are characterized with respect to chemical and physical properties. Special attention is payed to characterization of toxic aerosol components in gas and particle phase of fresh and artificially aged emission aerosols. The deposition of size segregated emission particles from the different sources and aged aerosols in the human lung is investigated applying the HPLDB Model of George A. Ferron (see also Lung Deposition Model).

Scientists involved: Gülcin Abbaszade, Yuting Huang, Jürgen Orasche, Jürgen Schnelle-Kreis, Ahmed Reda (Alumni)

Ultrafine particles in the environment

Environmental nanoparticles, a subset of particulate matter, (PM) with a diameter of less than 100 nm, contribute only slightly to PM mass concentration but may be important from the health point of view and may cause health effects independently of larger particles.  

In collaboration with the Institute of Epidemiology II, the ultrafine particles (particles <100 nm) in the ambient are investigated. In a first project temporal and spatial variability of quasi-ultrafine particles (<360 nm) was investigated in Augsburg. Applying known profiles from primary particulate matter and known molecular markers for secondary organic aerosols, five factors could be separated which determine the composition of the organic portion of the PM0.36. The main sources for primary organic particles were identified as traffic and biomass (wood) combustion. Identified sources for secondary organic aerosol are biogenic emissions of isoprene and terpenes and secondary organic aerosol from wood combustion.

Scientists involved : Fengxia Li, Jürgen Schnelle-Kreis

Li, F. et al.: Semi-continuous sampling of health relevant atmospheric particle subfractions for chemical speciation using a rotating drum impactor in series with sequential filter sampler. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 23, 7278-7287 (2016).

Shen, R. et al.: Chemical characteristics of PM2.5 during haze episodes in spring 2013 in Beijing. Urban Climate, DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2016.01.003 (2015).

Biomass combustion I

For many people it has become attractive for several reasons to operate stoves and fireplaces in addition to central heating. According to the German Association of Energy and Water Management, in 2015 27% of flats in Germany installed fireplaces or individual ovens as second heat generators. However, heating with wood, even if properly handled, causes significantly greater air pollution than other fuels such as heating oil or natural gas.

In cooperation with the Technology and Support Center in Straubing and the University of Eastern Finland, we examine the effects of different fuels, fuel qualities, combustion conditions and combustion technologies (stove, pellet boiler, etc.) on aerosol emissions.

Scientists involved: Jürgen Orasche, Jürgen Schnelle-Kreis, Ahmed Reda (Alumni)

Biomass combustion II

Smoke aerosols from wildfires and agricultural fires are essential to address pollutant emissions as well as how pollution evolves in the atmosphere and impacts on the population in urban and highly populated areas. The chemical properties of smoke are different in various regions of the world due to differences in the fuel types (e.g. rice straw), combustion conditions, solar radiation etc.

Within this project, we examine the influence of agricultural fires (e.g. rice straw, sugar cane) on air quality in different regions of the world. The project is based on three pillars: A: Near source field sampling campaigns for collection of primary aerosols, B: Combustion tests and aging of the emissions into a smog chamber (in cooperation with the Leibnitz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig) and C: Sampling of ambient aerosols.

Scientists involved: Dac-Loc Nguyen, Jürgen Schnelle-Kreis


Air quality and the associated subjective and health-related quality of life are among the important topics of urban life in our time. However, it is very difficult for many cities to take measures to accommodate today’s needs concerning e.g. mobility, housing and work, because a consistent fine-granular data and information on causal chains is largely missing. This has the potential to change, as today both large-scale basic data as well as new promising measuring approaches are becoming available.

Within the framework of the collaborative project SmartAQnet ( funded by BMVI, data from different origins and quality are integrated into a dynamic network of air quality measurements over the entire area of a city, in the project the city of Augsburg. Our subproject is responsible for the validation of the so-called scientific scouts (particle measuring devices) developed in the context of the community project in stationary and mobile measurements. For this purpose, extensive reference measurements including the quantification of aerosol sources are carried out. In cooperation with the project partners, the subproject establishes a measuring network with mobile scientific scouts in Augsburg and accompanies the measurements through quality assurance measures.

The Project SmartAQnet is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure - Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (BMVI) under grant no. 19F2003B.

Scientists involved: Mohamed Khedr, Xiansheng Liu, Lürgen Orasche, Jürgen Schnelle-Kreis


Studies around the world have shown that children growing up on traditional farms are protected from asthma, hay fever and allergic sensitization. Early-life contact with livestock has been identified as a most effective protective exposure. Recent studies suggest that among the microbial exposures encountered on farms and in animal sheds a certain cocktail of bacteria and fungi may be particularly relevant.

The aim of this project is to investigate to what extent products of metabolism from different microbes are relevant in this regard. The two main pillars of this project are: A: Microbes which are identified as being related to a reduced asthma risk within another part of the project are cultivated and volatile products of metabolism are studied, B: aerosols are collected on farms which are identified to either being or not being related to reduced asthma risk. Differences in compound pattern in the aerosols are related to asthma protection.

Scientists involved: Jürgen Orasche