Fluorescence spectroscopy coupled with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) has been widely used to characterize dissolved organic matter (DOM). Characterization is based on the intensity and location of independent fluorescent components identified in models constructed from excitation-emission matrices (EEMs). Similar fluorescent components have been identified in PARAFAC studies across a wide range of systems; however, there is a lack of discussion regarding the consistency with which these similar components behave. The overall goal of this critical review is to compare results for PARAFAC studies published since the year 2000 which include one or more of three reoccurring humic-like components. Components are compared and characterized based on EEM location, characteristic ecosystems, and behavior in natural and engineered systems. This synthesis allows PARAFAC users to more confidently infer DOM characteristics based on identified components. Additionally, behavioral inconsistencies between similar components help elucidate DOM properties for which fluorescence spectroscopy with PARAFAC may be a weak predictive tool.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry