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March 27th, 2007
Airborne particles less than 10 Ám in diameter (PM10) are associated with respiratory problems, including asthma, lower respiratory tract infections and bronchiolitis. Smaller particles (PM2.5) originating from diesel exhaust are known to cause allergic asthma and lung injury and nanoparticles (< 0.1 Ám) have been implicated in cardiopulmonary disorders. Their size is related to their ability to penetrate further into the respiratory tract, increasing the potential for damage.
In studies of the complex mixtures of compounds that can reside on nanoparticles, gas chromatography (GC) can be limited in its ability to separate the large numbers of compounds so researchers have been turning to two-dimensional GC (GCxGC), which employs two columns in series to give better resolution. Now, this strategy has been adopted by Japanese researchers from Gerstel K.K. and the National Institute for Environmental Studies to examine nanoparticles in the roadside atmosphere.
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