Chromatographic studies of dissolved organic matter and copper-organic complexes isolated from estuarine waters

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Dissolved organic matter (DOM) and dissolved copper-organic complexes were isolated from the estuarine waters of Narragansett Bay, RI, using reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC). Different types of reverse-phase BOND ELUT columns (Analytichem International), including C2, C18 and phenyl-bonded phases, were studied to determine their adsorption efficiency for extracting DOM. Extraction efficiencies followed the order phenyl > C18 > C2, and phenyl - C18 > C2 for DOM and organic copper, respectively. However, comparisons of BOND ELUT and C18 SEP-PAK (Waters Associates) columns indicated that SEP-PAK columns were the most efficient when both DOM and organic copper were considered. Chromatographic profiles of the isolated DOM obtained using high-performance liquid chromatography were similar in elution characteristics and resembled chromatograms typical of fulvic acid. The UV-absorption characteristics of the DOM showed small differences and suggested that the different reverse-phase columns isolated material that was qualitatively similar. Copper-organic complexes isolated using C18 RPLC were studied to examine the dissociation of organically bound copper in seawater as the pH is lowered. Only a small amount of the complexed copper was displaced by the H+ with about 40% of the copper remaining bound at pH 3. However, the chromatographic elution behavior of the DOM and organic copper was significantly altered under acidic conditions as a result of protonation of acidic functional sites on the organic matter. © 1987.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Chemistry