Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

2018 Edition
| Editors: William M. White

Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM)

  • Hilairy Ellen HartnettEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39312-4_155


Dissolved organic matter is a heterogeneous class of water-soluble compounds that contain reduced (organic) carbon from a variety of biological and geological sources with a wide range of chemical reactivity. Dissolved organic matter is a key component in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon.


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is operationally defined as any organic matter that is able to pass through a filter. It is described in contrast to particulate organic matter (POM) retained on the filter. Traditionally, glass fiber filters with a nominal pore size of 0.7 μm were the standard. Currently, smaller-sized filters (0.2 μm) are often used because they are readily available and they remove most bacteria, which can degrade a DOM sample. DOM is derived from many sources both external and internal to an aquatic system. Dissolved organic matter is a complex mixture of organic molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen as well as the heteroatoms nitrogen,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Fellman JB, Hood E, Spencer RGM (2010) Fluorescence spectroscopy opens new windows into dissolved organic matter dynamics in freshwater ecosystems: a review. Limnol Oceanogr 55:2452–2462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hansell DA, Carlson CA (eds) (2015) Biogeochemistry of marine dissolved organic matter, 2nd edn. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  3. Hedges JI (2002) Why dissolved organics matter. In: Hansell DA, Carlson CA (eds) Biogeochemistry of marine dissolved organic matter. Elsevier, London, pp 1–33Google Scholar
  4. Kujawinski EB (2011) The impact of microbial metabolism on marine dissolved organic matter. Annu Rev Mar Sci 3:567–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Moran MA, Kujawinski EB, Stubbins A, Fatland R, Aluwihare LI, Buchan A, Crump BC, Dorrestein PC, Dyhrman ST, Hess NJ, Howe B, Longnecker K, Medeiros PM, Niggemann J, Obernosterer I, Repeta DJ, Waldbauer JR (2016) Deciphering ocean carbon in a changing world. Proc Natl Acad Sci 113:3143–3151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Sharp JH, Carlson CA, Peltzer ET, Castle-Ward DM, Savidge KB, Rinker KR (2002) Final dissolved organic carbon broad community intercalibration and preliminary use of DOC reference materials. Mar Chem 77:239–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Sleighter RL, Hatcher PG (2007) The application of electrospray ionization coupled to ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry for the molecular characterization of natural organic matter. J Mass Spectrom 42:559–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Stedmon CA, Bro R (2008) Characterizing dissolved organic matter fluorescence with parallel factor analysis: a tutorial. Limnol Oceanogr Meth 6:572–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA