Evaluation of the Reactivity of Exhaust From Various Biodiesel Blends as a Measure of Possible Oxidative Effects: A Concern for Human Exposure

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Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are a major constituent of ambient air pollution and are associated with various adverse health effects, posing a major safety and public health concern in ambient and occupational environments. The effects of DEP from various biodiesel blends on biological systems was investigated using glutathione (GSH) as a marker of possible oxidative effects, based on the decrease in the concentration of GSH at physiological pH. The fluorophoric agent 2,3-naphthalenedicarboxaldehyde (NDA) was used as a selective probe of GSH in the presence of any likely interferents via fluorescence detection. Three different polar solvents (acetonitrile, methanol and water) were used to extract DEP generated during the combustion of different biodiesel blends (5%-99%). Oxidation of GSH to the disulfide (GSSG) was confirmed using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. A decrease in the concentration of GSH was observed in the presence of DEP extracts from all of the biodiesel blends studied, with reaction rates that depend on the biodiesel blend. Interestingly the reactivity peaked at 50% biodiesel (B50) rather than decreasing monotonically with increased biodiesel content, as was expected. Organic solvent DEP extracts showed wider variations in reactivity with GSH, with methanol extracts giving the largest decrease in GSH concentrations. This may imply a more organic nature of the oxidants in the biodiesel exhaust. It is therefore important to consider ways of reducing concentrations of organic components in biodiesel exhaust that can cause different toxic activity before any blend is offered as a preferred alternative to petroleum diesel fuel.



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