Particles of air pollution can be hazardous to health and affect a variety of organisms in different ways. It is important to be able to localise and identify the composition of particles, whether they are present on the surface of leaves or deeper within tissue.
Image showing an EDS layered map of an ilex (holly) leaf with air pollution particles on top of it. Calcium (light blue), silicon (yellow), aluminium (pink), and magnesium (dark blue) can clearly be distinguished. In addition to elemental maps, AZtec can be used to identify the fully composition of each particle for detailed analysis. Sample courtesy of Rob Kesseler.
Small particles with the potential to be breathed in and thus considered a risk to human health (PM 2.5, <2.5µm in diameter) have been identified on this leaf sample. Compositional information is collected when mapping samples and the spectra for the selected particles were obtained offline, after the original data collection.