Carboxyl groups are abundant in natural organic molecules (NOM) and play a major role in their reactivity. The structural environments of carboxyl groups in IHSS soil and river humic samples were investigated using 2D NMR (heteronuclear and homonuclear correlation) spectroscopy. Based on the 1H-13C heteronuclear multiple-bond correlation (HMBC) spectroscopy results, the carboxyl environments in NOM were categorized as Type I (unsubstituted and alkyl-substituted aliphatic/alicyclic), Type II (functionalized carbon substituted), Type IIIa, b (heteroatom and olefin substituted), and Type IVa, b (5-membered heterocyclic aromatic and 6-membered aromatic). The most intense signal in the HMBC spectra comes from the Type I carboxyl groups, including the 2JCH and 3JCH couplings of unsubstituted aliphatic and alicyclic acids, though this spectral region also includes the 3JCH couplings of Type II and III structures. Type II and III carboxyls have small but detectable 2JCH correlations in all NOM samples except for the Suwannee River humic acid. Signals from carboxyls bonded to 5-membered aromatic heterocyclic fragments (Type IVa) are observed in the soil HA and Suwannee River FA, while correlations to 6-membered aromatics (Type IVb) are only observed in Suwannee River HA. In general, aromatic carboxylic acids may be present at concentrations lower than previously imagined in these samples. Vibrational spectroscopy results for these NOM samples, described in an accompanying paper [Hay M. B. and Myneni S. C. B. (2007) Structural environments of carboxyl groups in natural organic molecules from terrestrial systems. Part 1: Infrared spectroscopy. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta (in press)], suggest that Type II and Type III carboxylic acids with α substituents (e.g., -OH, -OR, or -CO2H) constitute the majority of carboxyl structures in all humic substances examined. Furoic and salicylic acid structures (Type IV) are also feasible fragments, albeit as minor constituents. The vibrational spectroscopy results also suggest that much of the "Type I" signal observed in the HMBC spectrum is due to carboxylic acid esters and possibly α-substituted alicyclic acids.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology