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Advanced gel electrophoresis techniques reveal heterogeneity of humic acids based on molecular weight distributions of kinetically inert Cu$$^{2+}$$-humate complexes

Marumo, Kazuki*; Matsumoto, Atsumasa*; Nakano, Sumika*; Shibukawa, Masami*; Saito, Takumi*; Haraga, Tomoko ; Saito, Shingo*

Humic acids (HA) are responsible for the fate of metal ions in the environment. We developed a polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) technique to investigate the MW distributions of metal ion (copper ion). Combining contaminant-metal-free and high-resolution PAGE systems for HA provided accurate MW distributions for the metal ions. Coupling this system with UV-Vis spectrometry and the excitation-emission matrix (EEM) spectrometry-parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) method revealed new insights into metal-HA complex. Interestingly, the MW distributions of the three metal ions were entirely different, indicating that the presence of specific binding environments in HA for the metal ions depending its MW. The MW distributions of five fluorescent components were associated with the metal ion distributions. Our PAGE-based methodology suggests that metal binding sites and fluorescent components in HA exhibit heterogeneity in terms of metal binding affinity and MW.

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Category:Engineering, Environmental

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