Dissolved organic matter (DOM) present in fogwater samples collected in southeastern Louisiana and central-eastern China has been characterized using excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy. The goal of the study was to illustrate the utility of fluorescence for obtaining information on the large fraction of organic carbon in fogwaters (typically >40% by weight) that defies characterization in terms of specific chemical compounds without the difficulty inherent in obtaining sufficient fogwater volume to isolate DOM for assessment using other spectroscopic and chemical analyses. Based on the findings of previous studies using other characterization methods, it was anticipated that the unidentified organic carbon fraction would have characteristic peaks associated with humic substances and fluorescent amino acids. Both humic- and protein-like fluorophores were observed in the fogwater spectra and fluorescence-derived indices for the fogwater had similar values to those of soil and sediment porewater. Greater biological character was observed in samples with higher organic carbon concentrations. Fogwaters are shown to contain a mixture of terrestrially- and microbially-derived fluorescent organic material, which is expected to be derived from an array of different sources, such as suspended soil and dust particles, biogenic emissions and organic substances generated by atmospheric processes. The fluorescence results indicate that much of the unidentified organic carbon present in fogwater can be represented by humic-like and biologically-derived substances similar to those present in other aquatic systems, though it should be noted that fluorescent signatures representative of DOM produced by atmospheric processing of organic aerosols may be contributing to or masked by humic-like fluorophores. ?? 2010.
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Characterization of dissolved organic matter in fogwater by excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy