Human breathable air in a mediterranean forest: Characterization of monoterpene concentrations under the canopy

Albert Bach*, Ana Maria Yáñez-Serrano, Joan Llusià, Iolanda Filella, Roser Maneja, Josep Penuelas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Monoterpenes have been identified as potential determinants of the human health effects induced by forest exposure. The present study characterizes the total monoterpene concentrations at nose height in a Mediterranean Holm oak forest located in North-East Iberian Peninsula during the annual emission peak (summer and autumn: June to November) using a Proton Transfer Reaction–Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS). Results show a strong variability of the total monoterpene concentrations in season and daytime. The concentration peak appears during July and August. These two months displayed two average maxima in their diel cycles: One during early morning (from 6:00 to 8:00, 0.30 ppbv for July and 0.41 ppbv for August) and another one at early afternoon (from 13:00 to 15:00, 0.27 ppbv during July and 0.32 ppbv during August). Monoterpene concentrations were strongly related with the temperature (exponentially) and solar radiation (rectangular hyperbolic relationship). The concentrations registered here are similar or higher than in previous ex situ studies showcasing the effects of forests on human health. These findings provide relevant data for the scientific and healthcare community by improving the understanding of monoterpene dynamics at nose height and suggesting further research on the effects of forests on human health, particularly in the Mediterranean region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4391
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


    • BVOCs
    • Forest bathing
    • Forest chemistry
    • Forest exposure
    • Monoterpenes
    • PTR-MS


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