Fluorescence characterization of cross flow filtration derived freshwater colloidal and dissolved organic matter

Ruixia Liu, Jamie Lead, Andrew Baker

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62 Citations (Scopus)


3-D fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) spectrophotometry was applied to investigate the fluorescence characterization of colloidal organic matter (COM) and truly dissolved organic matter (DOM) from an urban lake and a rural river fractionated by the cross flow ultrafiltration (CFUF) process with a 1kDa membrane. Relatively high tryptophan-like fluorescence intensity is found in the urban water, although the fluorescence of both water samples is mainly dominated by humic/fulvic-like fluorophores. During CFUF processing, the fluorescence intensities of humic/fulvic-like materials in the retentate increased rapidly, but a slight increase is also observed in the permeate fluorescence intensity. Very different ultrafiltration behaviour occurred with respect to the tryptophan-like fluorophore, where both permeate and retentate fluorescence intensities increase substantially at the beginning of the CFUF process, then tend to remain constant at high concentration factor (cf) values. Comparison with tryptophan standards demonstrates that freshwater tryptophan-like fluorescence is not dissolved and 'free', but is, in part, colloidal and related to the ultrafiltration behaviour of fulvic/humic-like matter. A good linear relationship between the retentate humic/fulvic-like fluorescence intensity and organic carbon concentration further reveals that fluorescent humic/fulvic-like substances are the dominant contributors to colloidal organic carbon, mainly in the colloidal fraction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1304-1311
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007


  • tryptophan
  • fluorescence
  • colloidal and dissolved organic matter
  • cross flow ultrafiltration


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