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Humic substances in the Suwannee River, Georgia; interactions, properties, and proposed structures

January 1, 1994

Humic substances as a collective term and humic and fulvic acids as specific terms are not household words. For about a century, these terms belonged to the domain of the soil scientist. Even^though their chemical structures remained elusive, they were recognized as important entities in soil. During the past decade or so, there has been a renewed interest in humic substances in soil and water. Such interest has been the result of improved analytical instrumentation, and by a need to understand the structure and function of natural organic substances in water.

A responsibility of the U.S. Geological Survey is to assess the Nation's water resources; this includes water quality, which is the study of material in water. Such material may be suspended, colloidal, or in true solution. Because humic substances are a major carbon source in water, they have received attention by Geological Survey scientists. This attention has been a major focus by members of the Geological Survey's organic-chemistry group. For more than a decade, this group has collected samples, made analyses, and worked toward determining the structures and function of humic substances in water. Their work has brought worldwide recognition to the field, and in 1981, through Geological Survey support, they helped organize the International Humic Substances Society, which held its first meeting in Estes Park, Colorado, in August 1983.

At the second meeting of the Society in Birmingham, England, in August 1984, it became apparent that Geological Survey scientists were rapidly advancing the study of the chemistry of humic substances. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to publish this Open-File report on humic and fulvic acids from the Suwannee River in Georgia. The results represent our most definitive findings to date (1986). Though this work is not conclusive, it is state-of-the-science. Hopefully, our reporting on this work will aid in moving the science of humic substances forward as others read of our progress, findings, and theories. If so, this Open-File report will have served its purpose.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Humic substances in the Suwannee River, Georgia; interactions, properties, and proposed structures
DOI 10.3133/ofr87557
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 87-557
Index ID ofr87557
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center