Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-21-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Courtney Roper

Second Advisor

Marc Slattery

Third Advisor

James Cizdziel

Relational Format



Ambient air pollution has been associated with adverse health effects throughout the entire world. Although epidemiologists study air pollution extensively, rural areas are often the least understood. In 2020, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality used less than 10 air sampling locations across the state leaving a large gap in air quality knowledge. In this study, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air samples were collected from three different rural Mississippi cities–Ackerman, Eupora, and Houston, in the summer of 2020. Following collection onto filters, elemental black carbon analysis and an oxidative potential assay were both used to characterize the samples of interest. Varying results of black carbon concentration and DTT consumption from PM2.5 were observed with significant differences seen between locations and weeks of sampling. Black carbon concentrations collected at Ackerman, Eupora, and Houston had the following ranges reported in ng/m3: 0.45-1.05, 0.09-1.13, and 0.00-1.19 respectively. DTT consumption values from PM2.5 collected at Ackerman, Eupora, and Houston had the following ranges reported in nM/min/m3: 0.004-0.041, 0.006-0.022, and 0.004-0.012 respectively. A regression analysis (r2 = 0.144) between black carbon concentration and DTT consumption showed that black carbon did not fully explain DTT consumption from PM2.5 samples. This work demonstrated that there is variation in PM2.5 characteristics with location and time in rural Mississippi. Further studies need to be conducted in order to better understand black carbon concentration, DTT consumption from PM2.5, as well as other characteristics of PM2.5 within our region of study.



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