Aquatic foams and stream-water samples were collected from two pristine sites for humic substances isolation and characterization. Biomarker compounds identified in foam and stream humic substances included phospholipid fatty acids, steroids, and lignin. Results showed that foams had a 10 to 20 fold greater DOC concentration and were enriched in humic substances (90% by weight of DOC) that showed increased hydrophobicity, aliphatic character, and compositional complexity compared to host stream humic substances (55 to 81% by weight of DOC). Foam humic substances also were enriched in humic acid (36 to 83% by weight) compared to host stream humic substances (10 to 14% by weight). Biomarkers, which contributed less than 5% by weight to the DOC pool, indicated higher plants, bacteria, algae, fungi, and diatoms as DOC sources. It is proposed that aquatic foams may be important media for the concentration and transport of organic substances in the aquatic environment.
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Organic Geochemistry and Sources of Natural Aquatic Foams