Lignin Signature of Aquatic Humic Substances

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Science  03 Feb 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4635, pp. 485-487
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4635.485


Lignin-derived phenols dominate the cupric oxide oxidation products of dissolved humic substances from river and lake waters. The relative distributions of these phenols suggest the presence of intact, though oxidized, lignin, which is indicative of the locally dominant vascular plant vegetation. Recognizable lignin is present mostly in humic acid as opposed to fulvic acid fractions. This lignin component represents a source-specific and process-dependent tracer that can uniquely characterize dissolved organic matter.