Two field fluorometers, devoted either to natural organic matter (NOM) or to tryptophan-like fluorescing substances, were tested for the characterization of a large set of water samples (n = 263) impacted to various degrees by untreated or poorly treated urban sewage. Both fluorometers yielded consistent results when testing discrete samples. A nonlinear correlation (coefficient of determination = 0.98) was found between the tryptophan concentration given by the tryptophan field fluorometer and the fluorescence intensity given by a bench-top fluorometer (excitation = 285 nm, emission = 335 nm), corresponding to tryptophan-like fluorescing substances. A linear correlation with a mediocre coefficient of determination (0.63) was found between the NOM concentration given by the NOM field fluorometer and the fluorescence intensity given by the bench-top fluorometer (excitation = 355 nm, emission = 405 nm). This could be related to the diversity of NOM present, as illustrated by the different shapes of synchronous fluorescence spectra collected for the same samples.

Supplementary data