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Anal Chem. 2005 Jul 1;77(13):4194-200.

Characterizing dissolved organic carbon using asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation with on-line UV and DOC detection.

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Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, S7N 5E2.


A method of characterizing dissolved organic carbon (DOC) by asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation with on-line UV and DOC detection is described and applied to standards and natural water samples. Poly(styrenesulfonate) polymer standards, Suwannee River humic standards, and naturally occurring surface water and groundwater DOC were analyzed using this coupled detection technique. Molecular weight determinations in the samples and standards were 6-30% lower with DOC analysis than UV analysis. This difference was attributed to the insensitivity of the latter technique to nonaromatic carbon and suggests the molecular weight determined with the DOC detector is a more accurate representation of the actual molecular weight of the DOC. A normalized intensity comparison (NIC) method was proposed to distinguish differences in the relative amounts of aromatic and aliphatic carbon in DOC by comparing the two detector responses. The NIC method was applied to yield an average aromatic content of the bulk DOC and to detail the aromatic content over a range of molecular weights in a single DOC fraction.

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