Resin fractionation is the most widely used technique to isolate and characterize natural organic matter (NOM) based on its hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity, however, it is also recognized as a time consuming technique. This paper describes the use of reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography (RPHPLC) as a rapid assessment technique to determine the hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of NOM. The optimum column separation condition was achieved and without the need for concentrating the sample prior to analysis and with good reproducibility of the peak retention time and the peak area. The characterization results were further compared with the traditional resin fractionation technique using DAX-8 and XAD-4 resins. The results demonstrated that the polarities defined by the two methods were different but consistent and also that the fractions absorbed onto XAD-4 were less hydrophobic than those absorbed onto DAX-8. The difference in definition between resin fractionation and RPHPLC were further investigated.

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