Structural and behavioral characteristics of a commercial humic acid and natural dissolved aquatic organic matter
Review articleOpen access

AbstractDissolved organic matter (DOM) from two natural surface water sources and a commercial humic acid were analyzed using gel-permeation chromatography, high pressure reverse phase liquid chromatography, and 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Results from the chromatographic studies show that the DOM of two natural waters consisted primarily of relatively low molecular weight, polar organic constituents, while large and relatively nonpolar macromolecules comprised a significant fraction of the commercial humic acid. The 1H-NMR assays indicated that DOM from the two natural water samples was comprised of nonaromatic organic constituents, while the commercial humic acids tested contained both aromatic and aliphatic moieties. Based upon these composite results of the several different types of analysis employed, it is evident that the humic acid examined, and possibly others prepared in the same way, contain molecular structures which exhibit physical and chemical properties that do not reflect the true nature of DOM in real aquatic systems. Commercially available humic substances of this type may therefore not be suitable surrogates for naturally occurring DOM in laboratory investigations and analysis of geochemical and environmental transformation reactions.

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