What Natural Organic Matter means?

The term Natural Organic Matter (NOM) means different things to people working in different fields. This fact makes it very difficult any comparison of results and, sometimes, even any dialogue between people belonging to different NOM "communities". Recently, I've tried to collect all terms (and their meanings) related to NOM that could be found in the literature. I compiled all the acronyms found in a paper published in ENVIRON. CHEM. LETTERS. The list published in this article is not exhaustive and I plan to update it regularly in this webpage. Readers are kindly requested to send me any acronym they find that are not listed in the tables. My aim is not a pure collector's activity. The final objective is to clarify which type of NOM should be determined as a function of the problem. Measuring DOC and/or the absorbance at 245 nm may not always be the best answer... In the tables below, only acronyms and their meanings are listed. A detailed discussion and references can be found at doi:10.1007/s10311-008-0158-x.

Acronyms related to NOM origin

Acronym Meaning
AOM Aquogenic organic matter
AOM Algogenic organic matter
AROM Aquogenic refractory organic matter
AntOM Anthropogenic organic matter
EDOC Excreted DOC
EOC Excreted organic carbon
EPS Exopolymeric substances
IOM Intracellular organic matter
PDOC Phytoplankton extracellular products
POM Pedogenic organic matter
PROM Pedogenic refractory organic matter
SedOM Sediment organic matter
SOM Soil organic matter
TOM Peat organic matter
TOM Terrestrial organic matter, terrigenous organic matter


Acronyms related to NOM biochemical categories

Acronym Meaning
CSP Coomassie-stainned proteinaceous particles (Long and Azam 1996)
DCH Total dissolved carbohydrates
DCHO Dissolved carbohydrates
DCHO Total dissolved carbohydrates
DFAA Dissolved free amino acids
DFAA Total dissolved free amino acids
DFCHO Dissolved free monosaccharides
DFCHO Dissolved free carbohydrates
DLCFaAc Dissolved long chain fatty acids
DPCHO Total dissolved polysaccharides
DPROT Total dissolved proteins
DSCFaAc Dissolved short chain fatty acids
DTAA Dissolved total amino acids
DTCHO Dissolved total carbohydrates
HCl-CHO Dilute-HCL (0.09 M) hydrolyzable polysaccharides
HR-CHO HCl-resistant polysaccharides
MCHO Monosaccharides (fraction detected without acid hydrolysis)
PAA Particulate amino acids
PCHO Polysaccharides
PPROT Particulate proteins
SPCHO Water-soluble particulate carbohydrates
TCHO Total carbohydrates
TDAA Total dissolved amino acids
TDCHO Total dissolved carbohydrates
THAA Total hydrolyzable amino acid
TPCHO Total particulate carbohydrates
TPOC Total particulate organic carbon
URA Total uronic acids

Acronyms related to NOM physical fractionation methods

Acronym Meaning
CDOC Colloidal and dissolved organic carbon
COC Colloidal organic carbon
COM Colloidal organic matter
CPOC Coarse particulate organic carbon
CPOM Coarse particulate organic matter
DNOM Dissolved natural organic matter
DOC Dissolved organic carbon
DOM Dissolved organic matter
DOP Pico- and nano-detrital organic particles
FPOC Fine particulate organic carbon
FPOM Fine particulate organic matter
HMW-DOC High molecular weight DOC
LMWOC Low molecular weight organic carbon
POC Particulate organic carbon
POM Particulate organic matter
SPOM Suspended particulate organic matter
TPOC Total particulate organic carbon
UDOC Ultrafiltered dissolved organic carbon
UDOM Ultrafiltered dissolved organic matter
UOC Ultrafiltered organic carbon


Acronyms related to NOM chemical fractionation methods

Acronym Meaning
ABOM Aquagenic or autochtonous biopolymers (isolation by addition of 95% ethanol)
AHS Aquatic humic substances
AHS Hydrophobic acids (isolated according to Leenheer 1981)
BaS Bases (isolated according to Imai et al. 2001)
Char Hydrophilic charged compounds (adsorbed by Amberlite IRA-958)
DHM Dissolved humic matter
FA Fulvic acid (fraction of humic substances that is soluble in water under all pH conditions)
FA Hydrophobic acid fraction (sorbed on XAD-8 resin at pH 2 and eluted at pH 13)
HA Humic acid (fraction of humic substances that is not soluble in water under acidic conditions (pH < 2) but is soluble at higher pH values)
HA Hydrophobic acids (adsorbed by Supelite DAX-8, according to Aiken et al. 1992)
HbA Hydrophobic acid fraction (XAD-8 separation)
HbN Hydrophobic neutral fraction (XAD-8 separation)
HIA Hydrophilic acids (isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HiA Hydrophilic acids (isolated according to Leenheer 1981)
HIB Hydrophilic bases ( isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HI Hydrophilic fraction (XAD-8 separation)
HIN Hydrophilic neutrals (isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HiN Hydrophilic neutrals (isolated according to Leenheer 1981)
HOA Hydrophobic acids (isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HOB hydrophobic bases (isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HON Hydrophobic neutrals (isolated according to Leenheer and Huffman 1976)
HoN Hydrophobic neutrals (isolated according to Leenheer 1981)
HPIA Hydrophilic acid fraction (contained in the XAD-8 resin effluent at pH 2 that sorbs on a XAD-4 resin and is eluted at pH 13)
HPO neutrals Hydrophobic neutral fraction (extracted from the XAD-8 resin by Soxhlet extraction with acetonitrile and water)
Neut Passed through all resin columns (XAD-8, XAD-4, Amberlite IRA-958)
NHS Non humic substances (fraction not adsorbable on XAD-2 or XAD-8)
NOM-CH Carbohydrate-rich fraction (adsorptive behavior on a cross-linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone, PVP, polymer according to Lowe (1975))
NOM-PP Polyphenolic-rich fraction (adsorptive behavior on a cross-linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone, PVP, polymer according to Lowe (1975))
PHA Peat humic acid
ROM Refractory organic matter
ROS Refractory organic substances
TA Transphilic acids (adsorbed by Amberlite XAD-4, according to Aiken et al. 1992)
WFA Water fulvic acid
WHA Water humic acid
XAD-4 acids Fraction sorbed on XAD-4 resin (effluent of XAD-8 resin at pH 1.95) and eluted by dilute base
YOA Yellow organic acids


Acronyms related to lability criteria

Acronym Meaning
AOC Assimilable organic carbon
BDOC Biodegradable dissolved organic carbon
BOD Biochemical oxygen demand
BOM Biodegradable organic matter
COD Chemical oxygen demand
LDOC Labile dissolved organic carbonn
LDOM Labile dissolved organic matter
LOCP Labile organic carbon pool
ROCP Recalcitrant organic carbon pool
UDOC Utilizable dissolved organic carbon