High-field FT-ICR mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy to characterize DOM removal through a nanofiltration pilot plant

Water Res. 2014 Dec 15;67:154-65. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.08.046. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


Ultrahigh resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy were combined to evaluate the molecular changes of dissolved organic matter (DOM) through an ultrafiltration-nanofiltration (UF-NF) pilot plant, using two dissimilar NF membranes tested in parallel. The sampling was performed on seven key locations within the pilot plant: pretreated water, UF effluent, UF effluent after addition of reagents, permeate NF 1, permeate NF 2, brine NF 1 and brine NF 2, during two sampling campaigns. The study showed that there is no significant change in the nature of DOM at molecular level, when the water was treated with UF and/or with the addition of sodium metabisulfite and antiscaling agents. However, enormous decrease of DOM concentration was observed when the water was treated on the NF membranes. The NF process preferentially removed compounds with higher oxygen and nitrogen content (more hydrophilic compounds), whereas molecules with longer pure aliphatic chains and less content of oxygen were the ones capable of passing through the membranes. Moreover, slight molecular selectivity between the two NF membranes was also observed.

Keywords: DBPs; Dissolved organic matter; Drinking water treatment plant; FT-ICR mass spectrometry; NMR spectroscopy; Nanofiltration.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water / chemistry
  • Drinking Water / standards*
  • Filtration / instrumentation*
  • Filtration / methods
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humic Substances / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Nanostructures*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Quality / standards*


  • Drinking Water
  • Humic Substances
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen