US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Molecular composition of dissolved organic matter in NTL-LTER lakes detected by Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry

The composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) varies widely in the environment due to distinct sources of the material and subsequent processing. DOM composition drives its reactivity in terms of many processes including photochemical reactions, microbial metabolism, and carbon cycling within water bodies. This study uses ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry via a Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (FT-ICR MS) to evaluate DOM composition at the molecular level to determine differences in DOM composition among the NTL-LTER lakes. Whole water samples were collected from the surface of each lake near the shore on August 18th and 19th in 2016 in. Ultraviolet-visible spectra were recorded as light absorbance can also give information about DOM composition. Additionally, concentrations of anions, cations, and pH were measured waters because these can all alter DOM reactivity in the environment. Both water chemistry and DOM composition vary widely among the lakes with the bogs displaying the most terrestrial-like signature in DOM and the oligotrophic lakes show more microbial-like or environmentally processed DOM.
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Molecular Composition

Water was acidified to pH = 2 with concentrated hydrochloric acid and organic matter was extracted from the water using Agilent PPL cartridges. Extracts were diluted 100x in 50:50 acetonitrile to ultra-pure water and directly injected into a Bruker SolarX 12T Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer. Ionization was achieved with electrospray ionization by an Advian NanoMate delivery system in both positive and negative mode.

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