The goal of our research is to better understand the structure and reactivity of natural dissolved organic matter (DOM) in aquatic environments. A more detailed knowledge of these DOM characteristics would lead to a better understanding of carbon cycling in natural waters and processes associated with water treatment using free radical chemistry. Our specific interest in DOM in natural waters is several-fold: 1) the photochemical formation of reactive oxygen species, 2) photobleaching of the DOM in coastal oceans, and 3) using chromophoric DOM (CDOM) as a tracer of water masses and in carbon cycling. Our interest in water treatment is that DOM is the major sink of hydroxyl radicals employed in advanced oxidation processes for the destruction of pollutants and thus adversely affects the efficiency of the process. We are using the techniques of radiation chemistry to explore the fundamental free radical and redox chemistry of DOM. We have initiated a study of the free radical reactions of DOM using isolated fractions of Suwannee River fulvic and humic acids and isolates from various anthropogenic sources. We are also investigating the use of model compounds in an attempt to understand the free radical transients formed from DOM either as a result of free radical reactions or photochemical reactions.

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