Molecular size distribution and hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties of humic acids isolated from forest soil

https://doi.org/10.17221/2113-SWRCitation:Debska B., Drag M., Banach-Szott M. (2007): Molecular size distribution and hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties of humic acids isolated from forest soil. Soil & Water Res., 2: 45-53.
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The aim of the present paper was to determine hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties and the degree of polydispersity of humic acids depending on their degree of maturity and the properties of the plant material participating in the process of humification. The study involved humic acids isolated from samples taken from organic and mineral horizons of forest soils. The samples were taken under the tree stands of: pine with an admixture of hardbeam, European beech, elm, fir, spruce, and thuja. It was demonstrated that the properties of humic acids of the organic horizon and mineral horizons are determined by the kind of plant litter, mainly by the tree species. The humification process is connected with an increase of the proportion of humic acids of lower molecular size as compared to the proportion of molecules greater in size, and with an increase of hydrophilic fractions and a decrease of hydrophobic fractions. Based on the correlation relationships, it was shown that the degree of polydispersity of molecules of humic acids is related to their hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties. Humic acids with a larger proportion of high-molecular fractions demonstrate also a higher proportion of hydrophobic fractions.
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