1H-NMR spectroscopy has been found to be a useful tool to establish possible real differences and trends between all natural organic solute fractions (fulvic acids, humic acids, and XAD-4 acids) after acid-rain additions to the Lake Skjervatjern watershed. The proton NMR technique used in this study determined the spectral distribution of nonexchangeable protons among four peaks (aliphatic protons; aliphatic protons on carbon ?? or attached to electronegative groups; protons on carbons attached to O or N heteroatoms; and aromatic protons). Differences of 10% or more in the respective peak areas were considered to represent a real difference. After one year of acidification, fulvic acids decreased 13% (relative) in Peak 3 protons on carbon attached to N and O heteratoms and exhibited a decrease in aromatic protons between 27% and 31%. Humic acids also exhibited an 11% relative decrease in aromatic protons as a result of acidification. After one year of acidification, real changes were shown in three of the four proton assignments in XAD-4 acids. Peak 1 aliphatic protons increased by 14% (relative), Peak 3 protons on carbons attached to O and N heteroatoms decreased by 13% (relative), and aromatic protons (Peak 4) decreased by 35% (relative). Upon acidification, there was a trend in all solutes for aromatic protons to decrease and aliphatic protons to increase. The natural variation in organic solutes as shown in the Control Side B of the lake from 1990 to 1991 is perhaps a small limitation to the same data interpretations of acid rain changes at the Lake Skjervatjern site, but the proton NMR technique shows great promise as an independent scientific tool to detect and support other chemical techniques in establishing organic solute changes with different treatments (i.e., additions of acid rain).
Additional publication details
Organic solute changes with acidification in Lake Skjervatjern as shown by 1H-NMR spectroscopy