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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010, Article ID 310682, 10 pages
Research Article

Primary and Secondary Organic Marine Aerosol and Oceanic Biological Activity: Recent Results and New Perspectives for Future Studies

1Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, Environmental Change Institute, National University of Ireland, University Road, Galway, Ireland

Received 15 February 2010; Accepted 6 April 2010

Academic Editor: Markus D. Petters

Copyright © 2010 Matteo Rinaldi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the most important natural aerosol systems at the global level is marine aerosol that comprises both organic and inorganic components of primary and secondary origin. The present paper reviews some new results on primary and secondary organic marine aerosol, achieved during the EU project MAP (Marine Aerosol Production), comparing them with those reported in the recent literature. Marine aerosol samples collected at the coastal site of Mace Head, Ireland, show a chemical composition trend that is influenced by the oceanic biological activity cycle, in agreement with other observations. Laboratory experiments show that sea-spray aerosol from biologically active sea water can be highly enriched in organics, and the authors highlight the need for further studies on the atmospheric fate of such primary organics. With regard to the secondary fraction of organic aerosol, the average chemical composition and molecular tracer (methanesulfonic-acid, amines) distribution could be successfully characterized by adopting a multitechnique analytical approach.