Direct (1)H NMR spectroscopy of dissolved organic matter in natural waters.
ABSTRACT Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy arguably provides the greatest insight into the overall chemical composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM). However, in a standard 5 mm NMR probe, a sample of sea water at natural abundance only contains ca. 500-600 ng of organic matter, distributed among the heterogeneous components of DOM. Additionally, the intensity of the water signal, which may be many orders of magnitude greater than the signals from DOM, makes the detection and analysis of DOM at natural abundance extremely demanding. Here, we demonstrate, that although challenging, the application of an improved water suppression technique allows NMR spectra of DOM to be obtained directly (i.e without pre-concentration) for major bodies of water, including rivers, lakes and the ocean. The technique described here provides a compositional overview of an intact sample, permitting researchers to investigate and assess the impact of concentration, isolation and extraction procedures that are employed routinely. Also the technique permits NMR to be performed on 'precious' samples for which traditional isolations are not possible, for example, water from ice cores and pore water, which are key in hydrology and for paleoclimatic reconstruction.