Fresh straw burning (SB) particles were generated in the laboratory by the combustion of rice straw and corn straw. The chemical composition and mixing state of the fresh SB particles were investigated by an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS). Based on the mass spectral patterns, the SB particles were clustered into four major types: Salt, Organic Carbon (OC), Elemental Carbon (EC), and internally mixed particles of EC and OC (EC-OC). In addition, particles containing ash, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals or nicotine were also observed. Physical and chemical changes of the SB particles immediately after the emission were analyzed with highly time-resolved data. During the aging processes, the average particle size increased steadily. Freshly emitted organic compounds were gradually oxidized to more oxygenated compounds in the OC-containing particles. Meanwhile, an important displacement reaction (2KCl + SO→ KSO+ 2Cl) was observed. The marker ions for SB particles were optimized and applied to identify the SB particles in the ambient atmosphere. The fluctuation of the number fraction of ambient SB particles sorted by ATOFMS agrees well with that of water soluble Kmeasured by an online ion chromatography, demonstrating that the optimized marker ions could be good tracers for SB particles in field measurements.