Water dynamics and its role in structural hysteresis of dissolved organic matter

Pellegrino Conte, Jiri Kucerik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of structural dynamics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) is of paramount importance for understanding DOM stability and role in the fate of solubilized organic and inorganic compounds (e.g., nutrients and pollutants), either in soils or aquatic systems. In this study, fast field cycling (FFC) 1H NMR relaxometry was applied to elucidate structural dynamics of terrestrial DOM, represented by two structurally contrasting DOM models such as Suwanee River (SRFA) and Pahokee peat (PPFA) fulvic acids purchased by the International Humic Substance Society. Measurement of NMR relaxation rate of water protons in heating–cooling cycles revealed structural hysteresis in both fulvic acids. In particular, structural hysteresis was related to the delay in re-establishing water network around fulvic molecules as a result of temperature fluctuations. The experiments revealed that the structural temperature dependency and hysteresis were more pronounced in SRFA than in PPFA. This was attributed to the larger content of hydrogel-like structure in SRFA stabilized, at a larger extent, by H-bonds between carboxylic and phenolic groups. Moreover, results supported the view that terrestrial DOM consist of a hydrophobic rigid core surrounded by progressively assembling amphiphilic and polar molecules, which form an elastic structure that can mediate reactivity of the whole DOM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2210-2216
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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