The gas analyzer that is not “Amazon proof”

Hello everyone, I’m Eliane Gomes-Alves. I have been working at ATTO since 2015 with measurements of plant emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which we can all call “the forest scent”. We measure these compounds because they play an important role in the forest-atmosphere interactions, effecting biogeochemical cycles and climate.

To sample VOC emissions, we use equipment that was originally developed to measure gas exchanges between the air and plant leaves.

It is called IRGA – infrared gas analyzer. The IRGA measures gas exchanges to calculate photosynthesis and transpiration of plants. This portable equipment has a chamber, where we can enclose the leaf.

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Detecting fungal spores and their emission cycles

Bom dia, my name is Sebastian and I am a biologist participating in the ATTO project since 2017. At the moment I am working on my master thesis on “Bioaerosol emission patterns of tropical fungi in the Amazon”, under the supervision of Bettina Weber and Christopher Pöhlker. Bioaerosols are particles in the atmosphere originating from a biological source, for example fungal spores, bacteria and viruses.

The fungal spores are what interests our research team. They account for a large fraction of big particles in nearly any kind of ecosystem, especially in the Amazon Basin. Fungal spore emissions can be extremely high.
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Using air filters to see what aerosols are made of

Hello together. My Name is Denis Leppla and I am working at ATTO since 2017 with rather simple instruments for filter sampling. It consists of a filter holder to collect aerosol particles from the air on a certain other filter material. For that, it also needs a pump to pass air through the filter.  We then store the filters in a freezer until we bring them back to Germany. There we analyze them with a mass spectrometer at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. With this analysis, we can get insights into the chemical composition of aerosol particles and identify hundreds of different compounds.

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