Photoreactivity of humic substances: relationship between fluorescence and singlet oxygen production
Humic substances are natural compounds abundantly present in the environment. They play a significant role in the natural attenuation of pollution in surface water due to their capacity to generate reactive species upon solar light excitation. Finding physico chemical parameters related to this property would be of a great help in the prediction studies of the organic pollutants fate. In this work, we investigated relationships between the ability of the humic substances to produce singlet oxygen and their fluorescence properties. For this, a series of sixteen humic acids, fulvic acids, and water-extractable organic matter from soils were studied. The steady-state singlet oxygen concentrations in the irradiated humic substances solutions were measured by monitoring the loss of furfuryl alcohol added as a singlet oxygen scavenger. The emission spectra of the sixteen samples were also recorded. Values of the steady-state singlet oxygen concentrations and the emission intensities showed significant variations among the humic samples and a parallel increase. Thus, here we demonstrate that the rate of singlet oxygen production and the emission intensity of the humic samples are correlated, the best correlation being obtained for emission wavelengths between 500 and 580 nm. This correlation which was never reported until now can be used to estimate the singlet oxygen-production capacity of the humic substances based on their fluorescent properties.
KeywordsCorrelation Humic acids Fulvic acids Irradiation Fluorescence Singlet oxygen
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