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Partic. vol. 37 pp. 119-126 (April 2018)
doi: 10.1016/j.partic.2017.04.012

Composition of carbohydrates, surfactants, major elements and anions in PM2.5 during the 2013 Southeast Asia high pollution episode in Malaysia

Shoffian Amin Jaafara, Mohd Talib Latifa,b,*, Intan Suraya Razaka, Nurul Bahiyah Abd Wahidc, Md Firoz Khand, Thunwadee Srithawirate

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    • Selected components in PM2.5 were determined during 7-day hazy period in Malaysia. • Levoglucosan, surfactants, major elements and anions were main parameters determined. • The measured components were proportional to the concentration of PM2.5. • Meteorological factors influenced the characterisation of PM2.5 components.


Haze episodes have become a major concern in Malaysia over the past few decades and have an increasingly important impact on the country each and every year. During haze episodes from biomass burning in Southeast Asia, particularly from Sumatra, Indonesia, particulate matter PM2.5 is found to be one of the dangerous sources of airborne pollution and is known to seriously affect human health. This study determines the composition of carbohydrates (as levoglucosan), surfactants, major elements, and anions in PM2.5 during a 2013 haze episode. PM2.5 samples were collected from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, using a high volume sampler during a seven-day monitoring campaign during the peak of that year’s haze episode. PM2.5 concentrations ranged between 14.52 and 160.93 μg/m3, exceeding the 2005 WHO air quality guidelines for PM2.5 (25 μg/m3 for 24-h mean). The patterns for levoglucosan, surfactants, major elements, and anionic compositions were proportional to the PM2.5 concentrations. Changes in PM2.5 observed on days 3 and 4 were influenced by a combination of meteorological factors, which substantiate the theory that such factors play a pivotal role in haze episodes.

Graphical abstract


Aerosol; Biomass burning; Levoglucosan; Surfactant; Haze; Inorganic composition