Characterization of natural organic matter

Yuri Park, Mika Sillanpää, Lindsay Anderson, Graham A. Gagnon, Anu Matilainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Worldwide reports over the last few decades have shown that the amount of natural organic matter (NOM) in surface water is continuously increasing, which has an adverse effect on drinking water purification. For many practical and hygienic reasons, the presence of NOM in drinking water is undesirable. Various technologies have been proposed for NOM removal with varying degrees of success. The properties and amount of NOM, however, can significantly affect the process efficiency. To improve and optimize these processes, it is essential to characterize and quantify NOM at various points during purification and treatment. It is also important to be able to understand and predict the reactivity of NOM or its fractions at different stages of the process. Methods used in the characterization of NOM include resin adsorption, size exclusion chromatography (SEC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy. The NOM in water has been quantified with parameters including ultraviolet and visible, total organic carbon, and specific UV-absorbance. More comprehensive analytical methods for determining NOM structures have been developed recently: liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS), multidimensional NMR techniques, and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS). This chapter focuses on the methods used for the characterization and quantification of NOM in relation to drinking water treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNatural Organic Matter in Water
Subtitle of host publicationCharacterization, Treatment Methods, and Climate Change Impact, Second Edition
Number of pages50
ISBN (Electronic)9780128242742
ISBN (Print)9780128242759
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Characterization
  • Chromatography
  • Fractionation
  • NMR
  • Natural organic matter (NOM)
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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