We measured 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of Humic-like substances (HULIS) in urban atmospheric aerosols isolated by diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) and hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) resin to characterize their chemical structure. HULIS isolated by DEAE resin were characterized by relatively high contents of aromatic protons and relatively low contents of aliphatic protons in comparison with HULIS isolated by HLB resin, while the contents of protons bound to oxygenated aliphatic carbon atoms were similar. These results were consistent with the results of the 13C NMR analysis and indicate that hydrophobic components were more selectively adsorbed onto HLB, while DEAE resins selectively retained aromatic carboxylic acids. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the chemical structural features of HULIS were significantly different between spring and summer samples and that these disparities were reflective of their different sources. The estimated concentrations of HULIS in spring were found to be regulated by vehicle emissions and pollen dispersion, while the behavior of HULIS in summer was similar to photochemical oxidant and nitrogen dioxide concentrations. The proportion of aliphatic protons for summer samples was higher than that for spring samples, while the proportion of aromatic protons for summer samples was lower than that for spring samples. These seasonal changes of the chemical structure may also involve in their functional expression in the atmosphere.
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