Different toxic mechanisms are activated by emission PM depending on combustion efficiency

O. Uski (Corresponding Author), P.I. Jalava, M.S. Happo, J. Leskinen, O. Sippula, J. Tissari, J. Mäki-Paakkanen, Jorma Jokiniemi, M.-R. Hirvonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Ambient air levels of fine particulate matter (PM=2.5µm) are associated with mortality and morbidity. In addition to traffic, large quantities of fine and ultrafine particles (UFPs=100nm) are emitted by residential wood combustion. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and soot-rich emissions from small scale heating appliances have been linked with a plethora of toxicological effects. Recently, new technology appliances have been introduced into use although there are several uncertainties related to the toxicological properties of those emissions. In this study, PM1 (PM=1µm) emissions from three different biomass combustion situations were compared. PM samples were produced in a novel adjustable biomass combustion reactor to avoid the problems encountered if one uses different appliances to generate the desired combustion conditions. The combustion conditions represented efficient, intermediate and smoldering situations. The concentration related effects of the particles (15, 50,150 and 300µgml-1) were investigated in a RAW264.7 macrophage cell line after 24h' exposure. We analyzed cellular metabolic activity, cell cycle, and indicators of genotoxicty, oxidative stress and proinflammatory responses. Interestingly, the particles collected from smoldering and intermediate combustion conditions decreased cellular metabolic activity less than those from efficient combustion (10-fold difference). However, the samples from intermediate and smoldering combustion evoked greater DNA damage in the comet assay (2.5-fold difference). In contrast, only the particulate samples from efficient combustion triggered G2-cell cycle arrest and oxidative stress in the macrophages. These results indicate that ash rich PM emissions from appliances with almost complete combustion may still exert health impacts. However, particulate emissions from efficient combustion were small when compared to the two other situations. Thus, even with their faults and the obvious need for development, consumers should be encouraged to purchase efficient combustion devices in order to reduce exposure to PM induced adverse health effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-632
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • biomass
  • combustion
  • aerosols
  • chemical composition
  • particles
  • emissions


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