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ECN publication
Development of an automated system for isolation and purification of humic substances
Zomeren, A. van; Weij - Zuiver, E. van der; Comans, R.N.J.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass, Coal and Environmental Research 21-8-2008
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-W--08-042 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Published in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (Springer), , , Vol., p.-.

Characterization of humic substances (HS) in environmental samples generally involves labor-intensive and time-consuming isolation and purification procedures. In this paper, the development of an automated system for HS isolation and purification is described. The novelty of the developed system lies in the way the multiple liquids and columns used in the isolation/purification procedure are handled in both forward and back-elution mode by solenoid valves. The automated procedure significantly reduces the total throughput time needed, from 6–7 days to 48 h, and the amount of labor to obtain purified HS for further characterization. Chemical characterization of purified HS showed that results were in good agreement with previously published values for HS from a variety of sources, including the IHSS standard HS collection. It was also shown that the general properties of HS were consistent among the different source materials (soil, waste, aquatic) used in this study. The developed system greatly facilitates isolation and characterization of HS and reduces the risk of potential (time-dependent) alteration of HS properties in the manual procedure.

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