Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Courtney Roper

Relational Format



Air pollution is one of the top-ranking risk factors for death and disability around the world, accounting for nearly 4.9 million deaths worldwide (State of Global Air, 2019). Specifically, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been linked to many adverse effects on human health, yet there is very little known about what characteristics exactly cause these adverse health effects and how they cause them. Samples for this study were collected from Pascagoula, MS, a small town located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that is home to many industrial yards, from September 2013 to December 2013. Black carbon (BC) analysis was performed on the samples to collect black carbon concentrations. PM2.5 was extracted from filters in methanol via sonication. Portions of each sample were allocated to be whole particle solution (WPS) samples and soluble fraction samples. Oxidative potential was measured for both WPS and soluble fractions using the dithiothreitol (DTT) assay. Statistical analyses were used to measure statistical significance and find trends within the results. Significant differences were found between some sampling dates and monthly averages for PM2.5 concentrations, BC concentrations, and oxidative potential. Trends were observed between PM2.5 and BC concentrations but not between oxidative potential. Slight trends were also seen between months and seasons (fall and winter). The results of this study show that day and month, along with many other factors, should be considered when studying PM2.5, leading to a better understanding of air quality for future studies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Toxicology Commons



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