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J Environ Sci (China). 2013 Feb 1;25(2):287-94.

Quantification, morphology and source of humic acid, kerogen and black carbon in offshore marine sediments from Xiamen Gulf, China.

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Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Xiamen 361021, China.


Three types of macromolecular organic matters (MOMs), i.e. humic acid (HA), kerogen+black carbon (KB), and black carbon (BC) were extracted from marine sediments of Xiamen Gulf, southeast of China. The chemical composition, morphological property and source of the three extractions were characterized by elemental analyzer/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA/IRMS) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The results showed that KB was the predominant fraction in MOMs, which accounted for 61.79%-89.15% of the total organic content (TOC), while HA consisted less than 5%. The relative high contents of kerogen and BC, and low contents of HA in the samples indicated that anthropogenic input might be the major source of organic matter in marine sediments near the industrial regions. The characterization of SEM, not only revealed morphological properties of the three fractions, but also allowed a better understanding of the source of MOMs. The delta13C values of the three fractions suggested that materials from terrestrial C3 plants were predominant. Furthermore, the anthropogenic activities, such as the discharge of sewage, coal and biomass combustion from industry nearby and agricultural practices within drainage basin of the Jiulong River, were remarkably contributed to the variations in delta13C values of MOMs in the offshore marine sediments.

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