Characterization of humic substances: Implications for trihalomethane formation

Uyguner, Ceyda Senem; Hellriegel, Christine; Otto, William; Larive, Cynthia K.
March 2004
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Mar2004, Vol. 378 Issue 6, p1579
Academic Journal
Humic substances are precursors of carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THMs) formed during disinfection by chlorination in water treatment processes. In an effort to understand the relationship between trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP) and physicochemical properties of humic substances, UV-visible absorbance, fluorescence in emission and synchronous scan modes, and NMR spectra were measured for several aquatic fulvic and humic acids. For comparison, a soil fulvic acid was also examined using these methods. The feasibility of the gradient modified spin-echo (GOSE) NMR experiment to selectively measure singlet resonances arising from isolated protons was examined. In addition, diffusion coefficients were measured for DMSO solutions of the fulvic acids using BPPLED and GOSE-edited pulse sequences. Although none of the methods tested produced results that correlated with THMFP, the GOSE intensities determined for different regions of the NMR spectra did reflect the relative abundance of different types of functional groups produced by lignin oxidation. In addition, the GOSE-edited diffusion results suggest that the isolated protons, those most reactive to chlorination, are more likely contained in the larger molecular weight fractions of fulvic acids.


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