Compositional changes of dissolved organic carbon during its dynamic desorption from hyporheic zone sediments

Chenxin Zhou, Yunde Liu, Chongxuan Liu, Yuanyuan Liu, Malak M. Tfaily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important driver for biogeochemical reactions that affect microbial community function, and regulate changes in porewater chemical composition and redox properties in the environment. This study investigated the variation in DOM molecular composition during the detachment of organic matter (OM) from hyporheic zone (HZ) sediments using Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FTICR-MS). Diffusive mass transfer and microbial degradation were the two primary processes controlling the rate of OM release and molecular composition changes during the detachment from sediments. The diffusive mass transfer process limited the rate of OM release from the sediments, but had negligible effect on the molecular signature of the released OM. Microbial degradation on the other hand preferentially consumed the protein- and lipid-like fractions of the DOM, characterized by lower nominal oxidation states of carbon (NOSC), lower molecular weight, and a higher saturation of chemical bonds. The results have strong implication to the organic carbon dynamics and related microbial activities and contaminant transformation in hyporheic zones, an important critical area in river systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Mar 25 2019


  • Dissolved organic matter (DOM)
  • Hyporheic sediments
  • Molecular composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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