Molecular Features of Humic Acids and Fulvic Acids from Contrasting Environments

Judith Schellekens, Peter Buurman, Karsten Kalbitz, Andre van Zomeren, Pablo Vidal-Torrado, Chiara Cerli, Rob N.J. Comans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insight in the molecular structure of humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) can contribute to identify relationships between their molecular properties, and further our quantitative abilities to model important organic matter functions such as metal complexation and association with mineral surfaces. Pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) is used to compare the molecular composition of HA and FA. A systematic comparison was obtained by using samples from different environmental sources, including solid and aqueous samples from both natural and waste sources. The chemical signature of the pyrolysates was highly variable and no significant difference between HA and FA was found for major chemical groups, that is, carbohydrates, phenols, benzenes, and lignin phenols, together accounting for 62-96% of all quantified pyrolysis products. However, factor analysis showed that within each sample, FAs consistently differed from corresponding HAs in a larger contribution from mono- and polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic hydrocarbons, together accounting for 3.9-44.5% of the quantified pyrolysis products. This consistent difference between FAs and corresponding HAs, suggests that their binding properties may, in addition to the carboxyl and phenolic groups, be influenced by the molecular architecture. Py-GC-MS may thus contribute to identify relationships between HA and FA binding- and molecular-properties.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1330-1339
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Humic Substances
fulvic acid
humic acid
pyrolysis
Pyrolysis
Phenols
Hydrocarbons
Gas chromatography
Mass spectrometry
phenol
gas chromatography
mass spectrometry
hydrocarbon
Lignin
Factor analysis
Benzene
Complexation
complexation
factor analysis
Biological materials

Cite this

Schellekens, Judith ; Buurman, Peter ; Kalbitz, Karsten ; van Zomeren, Andre ; Vidal-Torrado, Pablo ; Cerli, Chiara ; Comans, Rob N.J. / Molecular Features of Humic Acids and Fulvic Acids from Contrasting Environments. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2017 ; Vol. 51, No. 3. pp. 1330-1339.
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abstract = "Insight in the molecular structure of humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) can contribute to identify relationships between their molecular properties, and further our quantitative abilities to model important organic matter functions such as metal complexation and association with mineral surfaces. Pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) is used to compare the molecular composition of HA and FA. A systematic comparison was obtained by using samples from different environmental sources, including solid and aqueous samples from both natural and waste sources. The chemical signature of the pyrolysates was highly variable and no significant difference between HA and FA was found for major chemical groups, that is, carbohydrates, phenols, benzenes, and lignin phenols, together accounting for 62-96{\%} of all quantified pyrolysis products. However, factor analysis showed that within each sample, FAs consistently differed from corresponding HAs in a larger contribution from mono- and polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic hydrocarbons, together accounting for 3.9-44.5{\%} of the quantified pyrolysis products. This consistent difference between FAs and corresponding HAs, suggests that their binding properties may, in addition to the carboxyl and phenolic groups, be influenced by the molecular architecture. Py-GC-MS may thus contribute to identify relationships between HA and FA binding- and molecular-properties.",
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Molecular Features of Humic Acids and Fulvic Acids from Contrasting Environments. / Schellekens, Judith; Buurman, Peter; Kalbitz, Karsten; van Zomeren, Andre; Vidal-Torrado, Pablo; Cerli, Chiara; Comans, Rob N.J.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 51, No. 3, 2017, p. 1330-1339.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Buurman, Peter

AU - Kalbitz, Karsten

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AU - Vidal-Torrado, Pablo

AU - Cerli, Chiara

AU - Comans, Rob N.J.

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AB - Insight in the molecular structure of humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) can contribute to identify relationships between their molecular properties, and further our quantitative abilities to model important organic matter functions such as metal complexation and association with mineral surfaces. Pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) is used to compare the molecular composition of HA and FA. A systematic comparison was obtained by using samples from different environmental sources, including solid and aqueous samples from both natural and waste sources. The chemical signature of the pyrolysates was highly variable and no significant difference between HA and FA was found for major chemical groups, that is, carbohydrates, phenols, benzenes, and lignin phenols, together accounting for 62-96% of all quantified pyrolysis products. However, factor analysis showed that within each sample, FAs consistently differed from corresponding HAs in a larger contribution from mono- and polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic hydrocarbons, together accounting for 3.9-44.5% of the quantified pyrolysis products. This consistent difference between FAs and corresponding HAs, suggests that their binding properties may, in addition to the carboxyl and phenolic groups, be influenced by the molecular architecture. Py-GC-MS may thus contribute to identify relationships between HA and FA binding- and molecular-properties.

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