Journal of Fluorescence

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2069–2094 | Cite as

Application of 3-D Fluorescence: Characterization of Natural Organic Matter in Natural Water and Water Purification Systems

  • Guocheng Zhu
  • Yongning Bian
  • Andrew S. Hursthouse
  • Peng Wan
  • Katarzyna Szymanska
  • Jiangya Ma
  • Xiaofeng Wang
  • Zilong Zhao


Natural organic matter (NOM) found in water sources is broadly defined as a mixture of polyfunctional organic molecules, characterized by its complex structure and paramount influence on water quality. Because the inevitable release of pollutants into aquatic environments due to an ineffective control of industrial and agricultural pollution, the evaluation of the interaction of NOM with heavy metals, nanoparticles, organic pollutants and other pollutants in the aquatic environment, has greatly increased. Three-dimensional (3-D) fluorescence has the potential to reveal the interaction mechanisms between NOM and pollutants as well as the source of NOM pollution. In water purification engineering system, the 3-D fluorescence can indicate the variations of NOM composition and gives an effective prediction of water quality as well as the underline water purification mechanisms. Inadequately treated NOM is a cause of precursors of disinfection byproducts (DBPs), posing a potential threat to human health. Effective control and measurement/evaluation of NOM have long been an important factors in the prevention of water pollution. Overall, 3-D fluorescence allows for a rapid identification of organic components thus indicating possible sources of water pollution, mechanisms of pollutant interactions, and possible DBPs formed during conventional treatment of this water. This article reviews the 3-D fluorescence characteristics of NOM in natural water and typical water purification systems. The 3-D fluorescence was effective for indicating the variabilities in NOM composition and chemistry thus providing a better understanding of NOM in natural water system and water engineering system.


3-D fluorescence Natural water Natural organic matter Water purification 



This work is financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China. (No. 51408215 and 51408004) and by Innovate UK, through KTP009641 (KS). ASH acknowledges the support of Hunan Provincial Government and Hunan University of Science & Technology through High End Expert Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guocheng Zhu
    • 1
  • Yongning Bian
    • 1
  • Andrew S. Hursthouse
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peng Wan
    • 3
  • Katarzyna Szymanska
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jiangya Ma
    • 5
  • Xiaofeng Wang
    • 3
  • Zilong Zhao
    • 6
  1. 1.Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Shale Gas Resource UtilizationHunan University of Science and TechnologyXiangtanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Biomedical & Environmental Health Research, School of Science & SportUniversity of the West of ScotlandPaisleyUK
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Hydroklear Services Ltd, Paddockholm Industrial EstateKilbirnieUK
  5. 5.School of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureAnhui University of TechnologyMaanshanChina
  6. 6.School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Graduate SchoolHarbin Institute of Technology ShenzhenShenzhenChina

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