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An investigation of the strong-acid characteristics (pKa 3.0 or less) of fulvic acid from the Suwannee River, Georgia, was conducted. Quantitative determinations were made for amino acid and sulfur-containing acid structures, oxalate half-ester structures, malonic acid structures, keto acid structures, and aromatic carboxyl-group structures. These determinations were made by using a variety of spectrometric (13C-nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared, and ultraviolet spectrometry) and titrimetric characterizations on fulvic acid or fulvic acid samples that were chemically derivatized to indicate certain functional groups. Only keto acid and aromatic carboxyl-group structures contributed significantly to the strong-acid characteristics of the fulvic acid; these structures accounted for 43% of the strong-acid acidity. The remaining 57% of the strong acids are aliphatic carboxyl groups in unusual and/or complex configurations for which limited model compound data are available.
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Strong-acid, carboxyl-group structures in fulvic acid from the Suwannee River, Georgia. 1. Minor structures