Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

This page lives in the old site. Check out our new site here.

Microanalysis of Primary Biological Particles from Model Grass Over its Lifecycle


Airborne biological aerosols are an integral part of the atmosphere-biosphere interface and significantly impact the environment and Earth’s climate. Primary biological particles such as fungal spores, bacteria, and fragments of plant debris, are emitted directly from the biosphere into the atmosphere. The phyllosphere (aboveground plant surfaces) is one of the major habitats for different microbes. In this study, atmospheric emissions of primary biological particles from model grass Brachypodium distachyon were monitored by on-line particle number concentration counting at eight principal growth stages starting from leaf development to senescence. Particles collected at each of the growth stages were then characterized using micro-spectroscopy techniques. Our findings indicate that the morphological and compositional characteristics of emitted biological particles are highly variable at the different growth stages. We identified fungal spores as the most abundant biological particles in the heading stage, while bacteria were most abundant in the flowering and fruit development stages. Understanding differences in the composition and morphology of biological particles during plant life cycle provides more accurate and reliable insights on structural, functional and biochemical properties of plant systems, as well as their interactions with microbial communities. This study also provides insights to Earth geoscience system models that represent primary biological particle emissions from the biosphere.

China S., D.P. Veghte, A. Ahkami, J. Weis, G.C. Jansson, A.B. Guenther, and M.K. Gilles, et al. 2020. "Microanalysis of Primary Biological Particles from Model Grass Over its Lifecycle." <i>ACS Earth and Space Chemistry</i> 4, no. 10:1895-1905. PNNL-SA-155549. doi:10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00144
Daniel P;Ahkami
Georg C;Guenther
Alex B;Gilles
Mary Kathleen;Laskin