Polar dissolved organic matter (DOM) was isolated from a surface-water sample from the Great Salt Lake by separating it from colloidal organic matter by membrane dialysis, from less-polar DOM fractions by resin sorbents, and from inorganic salts by a combination of sodium cation exchange followed by precipitation of sodium salts by acetic acid during evaporative concentration. Polar DOM was the most abundant DOM fraction, accounting for 56% of the isolated DOM. Colloidal organic matter was 14C-age dated to be about 100% modern carbon and all of the DOM fractions were 14C-age dated to be between 94 and 95% modern carbon. Average structural models of each DOM fraction were derived that incorporated quantitative elemental and infrared, 13C-NMR, and electrospray/mass spectrometric data. The polar DOM model consisted of open-chain N-acetyl hydroxy carboxylic acids likely derived from N-acetyl heteropolysaccharides that constituted the colloidal organic matter. The less polar DOM fraction models consisted of aliphatic alicyclic ring structures substituted with carboxyl, hydroxyl, ether, ester, and methyl groups. These ring structures had characteristics similar to terpenoid precursors. All DOM fractions in the Great Salt Lake are derived from algae and bacteria that dominate DOM inputs in this lake.
Additional publication details
Characterization and origin of polar dissolved organic matter from the Great Salt Lake