Effects of iron on optical properties of dissolved organic matter

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 



Iron is a source of interference in the spectroscopic analysis of dissolved organic matter (DOM); however, its effects on commonly employed ultraviolet and visible (UV–vis) light adsorption and fluorescence measurements are poorly defined. Here, we describe the effects of iron(II) and iron(III) on the UV–vis absorption and fluorescence of solutions containing two DOM fractions and two surface water samples. In each case, regardless of DOM composition, UV–vis absorption increased linearly with increasing iron(III). Correction factors were derived using iron(III) absorption coefficients determined at wavelengths commonly used to characterize DOM. Iron(III) addition increased specific UV absorbances (SUVA) and decreased the absorption ratios (E2:E3) and spectral slope ratios (SR) of DOM samples. Both iron(II) and iron(III) quenched DOM fluorescence at pH 6.7. The degree and region of fluorescence quenching varied with the iron:DOC concentration ratio, DOM composition, and pH. Regions of the fluorescence spectra associated with greater DOM conjugation were more susceptible to iron quenching, and DOM fluorescence indices were sensitive to the presence of both forms of iron. Analyses of the excitation–emission matrices using a 7- and 13-component parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) model showed low PARAFAC sensitivity to iron addition.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of iron on optical properties of dissolved organic matter
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/es502670r
Volume 48
Issue 17
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher ACS Publications
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 9 p.
First page 10098
Last page 10106