A simple and efficient method for the solid-phase extraction of dissolved organic matter (SPE-DOM) from seawater

Thorsten Dittmar, Boris Koch, Norbert Hertkorn,Gerhard Kattner

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 6:230-235 (2008) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2008.6.230

ABSTRACT: A simple protocol is presented for the solid-phase extraction of dissolved organic matter (SPE-DOM) from seawater using commercially prepacked cartridges. The method does not require major instrumentation and can be performed in the field. Modified styrene divinyl benzene polymer type sorbents (Varian PPL and ENV) and sorbents of a silica structure bonded with different hydrocarbon chains (Varian C8, C18, C18OH, and C18EWP) were considered. Except for C18OH, which heavily contaminated the samples, none of the sorbents leached significant amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) or nitrogen (DON). Samples from the North Brazil shelf with strong mixing gradients of terrigenous and marine DOM were used to compare the various sorbents. PPL was the most efficient—on average, 62% of DOC was recovered as salt-free extracts. C18 was found to be most efficient among the silica-based sorbents, but it showed only two-thirds of the extraction efficiency of PPL. As indicated by [1H]NMR, C/N, and d13C analyses, PPL extracted a more representative proportion of DOM than C18. Therefore, PPL was used for comparative studies in the Gulf of Mexico and Antarctica. From brackish marsh and river waters, 65% and 62% of total DOC, respectively, could be extracted. For purely marine DOM in Antarctica and the deep sea, the extraction efficiency was lower (43% on average). The efficiency of the new method to isolate marine DOM is better than or similar to highly laborious methods. A further advantage is the complete desalination of the sample. The isolation of a major DOM fraction, which is salt-free, offers many possibilities to further characterize DOM by advanced analytical techniques.