Organic composition of size segregated atmospheric particulate matter, during summer and winter sampling campaigns at representative sites in Madrid, Spain

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Abstract Madrid, the largest city of Spain, has some and unique air pollution problems, such as emissions from residential coal burning, a huge vehicle fleet and frequent African dust outbreaks, along with the lack of industrial emissions. The chemical composition of particulate matter (PM) was studied during summer and winter sampling campaigns, conducted in order to obtain size-segregated information at two different urban sites (roadside and urban background). PM was sampled with high volume cascade impactors, with 4 stages: 10–2.5, 2.5–1, 1–0.5 and < 0.5 μm. Samples were solvent extracted and organic compounds were identified and quantified by GC-MS. Alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alcohols and fatty acids were chromatographically resolved. The PM1–2.5 was the fraction with the highest mass percentage of organics. Acids were the organic compounds that dominated all particle size fractions. Different organic compounds presented apparently different seasonal characteristics, reflecting distinct emission sources, such as vehicle exhausts and biogenic sources. The benzo[a]pyrene equivalent concentrations were lower than 1 ng m− 3. The estimated carcinogenic risk is low.