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Kuhn U.,Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz Ta Nikon | Kuhn U.,Institute Fu R Energie und Klimaforschung | Kuhn U.,Julich Research Center | Sintermann J.,Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz Ta Nikon | And 8 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2011

Despite recent evidence on an important role of volatile amines in the nucleation of particulate matter, very scarce information is available on their atmospheric abundance and source distribution. Previous measurements in animal housings had identified livestock husbandry as the main amine source, with trimethylamine (TMA) being the key component. This has led to the assumption that the agricultural sources for amines are similar as for ammonia, emitted throughout the cascade of animal excretion, storage and application in the field. In this study, we present the first micrometeorological flux measurements as well as dynamic enclosure experiments showing that the amine source strength from stored slurry is negligible, implying significant consequences for the global amine emission inventory. In the case of cattle, amine production is attributed to the animal's rumination activity and exhalation is suggested to be an important emission pathway, similar to the greenhouse gas methane. Fodder like hay and silage also emits volatile amines, potentially assigning these alkaloid compounds a key function in enhancing particle formation in remote areas. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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