Characterisation of algogenic organic matter extracted from cyanobacteria, green algae and diatoms

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Algogenic organic matter (AOM) can interfere with drinking water treatment processes and comprehensive characterisation of AOM will be informative with respect to treatability. This paper characterises the AOM originating from four algae species (Chlorella vulgaris, Microcystis aeruginosa, Asterionella formosa and Melosira sp.) using techniques including dissolved organic carbon (DOC), specific UV absorbance (SUVA), zeta potential, charge density, hydrophobicity, protein and carbohydrate content, molecular weight and fluorescence. All AOM was predominantly hydrophilic with a low SUVA. AOM had negative zeta potential values in the range pH 2-10. The stationary phase charge density of AOM from C. vulgaris was greatest at 3.2 meq g(-1) while that of M. aeruginosa and Melosira sp. was negligible. Lower charge density was related to higher hydrophobicity, while it was related in turn to increasing proteins >500 kDa:carbohydrate ratio. This demonstrates that AOM is of a very different character to natural organic matter (NOM).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3435-3445
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • protein, carbohydrates, charge density, hydrophobicity, algae organic matter