Thermal fluorescence quenching properties of dissolved organic matter


Andy Baker


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Publication Date

October 2005


The fluorescence excitation–emission matrices of dissolved organic matter (DOM) are investigated between 10 and 45 °C for river and waste waters and organic matter standards. With increased temperature, fluorescence intensity is quenched. It is demonstrated that for a range of river and wastewater samples, that tryptophan-like fluorescence exhibits a greater range of quenching (between 20±4% and 35±5%) than fulvic-like fluorescence (19±4 to 26±3%) over this temperature range. Humic substance standards exhibit similar fulvic-like (23±4%) fluorescence thermal quenching properties to river water samples (23±3%); however none of the samples exhibit quenching of tryptophan-like fluorescence to the same extent as the tryptophan standards (∼50%). Thermal fluorescence quenching is related to the exposure of the fluorophores to the heat source; our findings suggest that the tryptophan-like groups within DOM is more exposed in untreated wastewaters than in treated wastewaters riverine DOM. Thermal fluorescence properties have the potential to be used to source DOM, to provide additional chemical structural information, to temperature correct laser-induced remotely sensed DOM fluorescence, and to characterise DOM through the wastewater treatment process.


Fluorescence, Dissolved Organic Matter, Thermal Quenching, Humic, Tryptophan

Document Type



Water Research, Vol. 39, no. 18 (2005-10-06).