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ABSTRACT

PM2.5 and PM10 samples collected at a suburban site of northeastern part of India have been analysed for particle mass, total carbon (TC), water-soluble total carbon (WSTC), water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC), water-soluble inorganic carbon (WSIC), organic acids (formic, acetic, proponoic and oxalic acids) along with inorganic ions (NO3, SO42− and NH4). Most of the PM10 consists of PM2.5 in the present site (ratio 54–74%). WSTC content in PM2.5 and PM10 corresponds to 21% and 16%, respectively, of their total particle masses. Thermo gravimetric analysis showed the presence of humic-like substances (16–22%) in particulate samples. Domestic heating and stagnant atmospheric conditions enhanced the levels of these carbonaceous compounds in PM2.5 and PM10 in winter. Qualitative estimation of various functional groups by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis indicates the presence of carboxylic, hydroxyl, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, amines and sulphurous compounds in these aerosols. Absolute principal component analysis applied on the aerosol data resolves four factors. These factors are associated with carbonaceous aerosols released from combustion of coal and wood, secondary inorganic and organic aerosols and water-soluble inorganic fraction.