Capillary electrophoresis for the characterization of humic substances

Toshio Suzuki, Hitoshi Hoshino, Takao Yotsuyanagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The potential of capillary electrophoresis (CE) has been demonstrated for the analysis and characterization of humic substances (fulvic and humic acids). Humic substances were effectively separated by capillary gel electrophoresis (acrylamide gel CGE) and CE with cellulose derivative solutions using a 50 mM tris-borate buffer (pH 8.3) with 2 mM EDTA, or 5% polyvinylpyrrolidone (PNVP). They were detected by UV absorption at 260 nm and by emission at 490 nm (excitation at 390 nm). The using these gel systems leads to the separation of humic substances into two fractions, which comprise lower-molecular weight components as well as higher ones. The addition of iron (III) chloride resulted in a decrease in the peak of the lower molecular-weight components, which most likely arose from an aggregation of the lower-molecular weight fraction due to binding bond formation through the hydrolyzed Fe(III) ion. When sodium hypochlorite solution was added to the humic substance, some peaks decreased with increasing the residual chlorine concentrations. Therefore, the gel-mode CE enables one to monitor the reaction behavior as well as the fate of humic substances in an aquatic system in relation to the binding of metal ions and the oxidation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Capillary gel electrophoresis
  • Fulvic acid
  • Humic substances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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