Storage effects on quantity and composition of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen of lake water, leaf leachate and peat soil water
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of freezing and cold storage at 4 °C on bulk dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) concentration and SEC fractions determined with size exclusion chromatography (SEC), as well as on spectral properties of dissolved organic matter (DOM) analyzed with fluorescence spectroscopy. In order to account for differences in DOM composition and source we analyzed storage effects for three different sample types, including a lake water sample representing freshwater DOM, a leaf litter leachate of Phragmites australis representing a terrestrial, ‘fresh’ DOM source and peatland porewater samples. According to our findings one week of cold storage can bias DOC and DON determination. Overall, the determination of DOC and DON concentration with SEC analysis for all three sample types were little susceptible to alterations due to freezing. The findings derived for the sampling locations investigated here may not apply for other sampling locations and/or sample types. However, DOC size fractions and DON concentration of formerly frozen samples should be interpreted with caution when sample concentrations are high. Alteration of some optical properties (HIX and SUVA254) due to freezing were evident, and therefore we recommend immediate analysis of samples for spectral analysis.