Application of 3-D fluorescence: characterization of natural organic matter in natural water and water purification systems

Guocheng Zhu, Yongning Bian, Andrew Hursthouse, Peng Wan, Katarzyna Szymannska, Jiangya Ma, Zilong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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Natural organic matter (NOM) found in water sources is broadly defined as a mixture of polyfunctional organic molecules, characterized by its complex structure and paramount influence on water quality. Because the inevitable release of pollutants into aquatic environments due to an ineffective control of industrial and agricultural pollution, the interaction evaluations of NOM with heavy metals, nanoparticles, organic pollutants and other pollutants in the aquatic environment, are rapidly increased. The three-dimension (3-D) fluorescence has a potential to reveal the interaction mechanisms between NOM and pollutants as well as the source of NOM pollution. In water purification engineering system, the 3-D fluorescence can indicate the variations of NOM composition and gives an effective prediction of water quality as well as the underline water purification mechanisms. Inadequately treated NOM is a cause of precursors of disinfection byproducts (DBPs), posing a potential threat to human health. Effective control and measurement/evaluation of NOM have long been an important factor in prevention of water pollution. Overall, 3-D fluorescence allows for a rapid identification of organic components thus indicating possible sources of water pollution, mechanisms of pollutant interactions, and possible DBPs formed during conventional treatment of this water. This article reviews the 3-D fluorescence characteristics of NOM in natural water and typical water purification systems. The 3-D fluorescence was effective for indicateing the variabilities in NOM composition and chemistry thus providing a better understanding of NOM in natural water system and water engineering system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2069-2094
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Fluorescence
Issue number6
Early online date21 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2017


  • 3-D fluorescence
  • indicator
  • natural organic matter
  • water purification


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