Standard: API 4104


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The increasing emission of carbon monoxide (CO) through the burning of fossil fuels, notably gasoline by motor vehicles, has caused serious concern among public health officials and representatives of the automotive and petroleum industries. It has been estimated that over 200 million metric tons of CO per year are liberated into the earth's atmosphere due to man's activities alone (l8). Yet, ambient concentrations do not appear to have changed appreciably as a result, in spite of calculations (14) showing that at this rate of liberation, the ambient CO level should double within 4-5 years. The fate of CO liberated into the atmosphere therefore has aroused scientific curiosity and become medically significant. The biological effects of abnormally high levels of CO in the atmosphere have been intensively studied (4), and research is continuing in this area to more specifically define the effects of CO concentrations encountered under various road traffic situations.

A series of research contracts was awarded to Stanford Research Institute by the Coordinating Research Council and the National Air Pollution Control Administration (later transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency) to provide insight into the fate of atmospheric CO. The objective was to investigate the biosphere as a possible sink for atmospheric CO. Research conducted under the initial contract by Mrs, Elaine Levy (14) showed that nonsterile soil depleted CO from test atmospheres, whereas steam-sterilized soil did not, suggesting a role for soil or soil microorganisms as a sink. Tests regarding uptake of CO by certain large marine algae were inconclusive.

The research described in this report was conducted under a second contract, and was designed as an extension of Mrs. Levy's work. Objectives were to:

Measure CO uptake by soils from different locations.

Determine whether CO uptake by the soil was mediated by a physical or biological mechanism.

Determine which organisms, if any, were responsible for CO uptake.

Determine the role of higher plants as a CO sink.

Determine effects of selected environmental conditions on CO uptake by soil.

Some of the results of this research have been published (8) and an additional paper is in preparation.

Organization: American Petroleum Institute
Document Number: api 4104
Publish Date: 1971-10-01
Page Count: 45
Available Languages: EN
DOD Adopted: NO
ANSI Approved: NO
Most Recent Revision: YES
Current Version: NO
Status: Inactive