Tracing atmospheric transport of soil microorganisms and higher plant waxes in the East Asian outflow to the North Pacific Rim by using hydroxy fatty acids: Year-round observations at Gosan, Jeju Island

Poonam Tyagi, Kimitaka Kawamura, Tadashi Kariya, Srinivas Bikkina, Pingqing Fu, Meehye Lee

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Atmospheric transport of soil microorganisms and higher plant waxes in East Asia significantly influences the aerosol composition over the North Pacific. This study investigates the year-round atmospheric abundances of hydroxy fatty acids (FAs), tracers of soil microorganisms (β-isomers), and plant waxes (α- and ω-isomers), in total suspended particles collected at Gosan, Jeju Island, during April 2001 to March 2002. These hydroxy FAs showed a pronounced seasonality, higher concentrations in winter/spring and lower concentrations in summer/autumn, which are consistent with other tracers of soil microbes (trehalose), resuspended dust (nss-Ca2+), and stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) of total carbon. The molecular distributions of β-hydroxy FAs (predominance of C12 and C16 in winter/spring and summer/autumn, respectively) are consistent with those from a remote island (Chichijima) in the North Pacific and Asian dust standards (CJ-1 and CJ-2). This observation together with back trajectories over Gosan reveal that desert sources in China during winter and arid regions of Mongolia and Russian Far East during spring are the major contributors of soil microbes over the North Pacific. Predominance of ω-isomers (83%) over β-hydroxy FAs (16%) revealed a major contribution of terrestrial lipids from higher plant waxes over soil microbes in the East Asian outflow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4112-4131
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 16



  • East Asian outflow
  • Gram-negative bacteria
  • Hydroxy fatty acids
  • long-range atmospheric transport
  • Seasonal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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