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Insights into the Photoproduction Sites of Hydroxyl Radicals by Dissolved Organic Matter in Natural Waters

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journal contribution
posted on 08.12.2015, 00:00 by Luni Sun, Jianguo Qian, Neil V. Blough, Kenneth Mopper
The hydroxyl radical (OH) is the most reactive oxidant produced in natural waters. Photoproduction by chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is one of its main sources, but the structures responsible for this production remain unknown. Here, a series of substituted phenol model compounds are examined to test whether these structures could act as a source of OH. We find that many of these compounds do produce OH with quantum yields (Φ) ranging from ∼10–4 to ∼10–2. In particular, two compounds that have hydroxy groups and carboxyl groups in a para relationship (4-hydroxybenzoic acid and 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid) exhibit relatively high Φ values, ∼10–2. For 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid, the formation of OH was confirmed through the use of competition kinetics and reaction with methane. We conclude that these types of structures, which may derive from polyphenolic source materials such as lignins, tannins, and humic substances, could be an important source of OH in natural waters.

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