Humic-type fluorescence from chromophoric dissolved organic matter, humic acids, and carbon nanoparticles in water
Daria Khundzhua, Alexey Vervald, Tatiana Dolenko, Sergey Burikov, Olga Yakimenko, Mihail Freidkin, and Svetlana Patsaeva
CDOM (coloured or chromophoric dissolved organic matter) is present in all types of
natural water and plays a significant role in its optical properties. The humic-type
fluorescence band (emission in the blue region with a maximum within 400 to 500 nm)
essentially depends both on the CDOM source and on the wavelength of the exciting
radiation. Despite the long-term study of the properties of CDOM and humic substances
(HS), which make up most of the CDOM, their spectral properties have not yet been
explained. Difficulties arise due to the fact that because of the wide variety of these
substances and their polydispersity, the exact composition of fluorophores is not known.
Currently, there is an active search for individual components in the fluorescence spectra
of CDOM fractions, humic preparations of various origin, as well as similar in chemical
structure nano-sized particles of graphene oxide or so called carbon dots (CD). Assuming
that all these substances could have similar groups of fluorophores, we compared the
spectral properties of CDOM, fulvic acid (FA), humic acids (HA) of different genesis, and
carbon dots. It has been revealed that the fluorescence properties of all studied samples
depend significantly on the excitation wavelength. The analysis of emission/excitation
properties allowed us to distinguish the following classes of substances with fluorophores
similar in spectral characteristics: (a) CDOM of Karelian freshwater lakes - fulvic acid
samples (humic-type fluorescence with a maximum at 440-460 nm and significant blue shift);
and (b) CD - HA of coal origin (wavelength of humic-like emission at 500 to 515 nm, no blue
shift). We propose the following chain of organic material transformation according to
changes in degree of humification and optical properties: biopolymers → aquatic HS
(CDOM and FA) → terrestrial HS (geopolymers) → fractionated carbon nanoparticles.
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Submitted: 17 Nov 2017
Revised: 30 Mar 2018
Accepted: 06 April 2018
Published: 07 May 2018
Responsible editor: Rainer Reuter
Khundzhua D, Vervald A, Dolenko T, Burikov S, Yakimenko O, Freidkin M & Patsaeva S, 2018.
Humic-type fluorescence from chromophoric dissolved organic matter, humic acids, and carbon nanoparticles in water.
EARSeL eProceedings, 17(1): 16-23