Natural nonliving organic matter (NOM) is a very reactive, ubiquitous
component in soil, sediment, water and air. It exerts a profound
influence on many biophysico-chemical processes in the environment.
For example, NOM exercises a vital role in soil quality and health
by regulating the bioavailability and dynamic processes of metals,
anthropogenic organic compounds and vital elements. NOM can be a
major source of N, P, and S for plants, and a primary food and energy
source that controls the ecological dynamics of soil and sediment
NOM is composed of a mixture of complex molecules varying from
low to high molecular weights, including diagenetically altered
biopolymers and black carbons. Moreover, NOM can vary greatly, depending
on its origin, transformation mode, age, and existing environment,
thus its biophysico-chemical functions and properties vary with
different environments. A better and more complete understanding
of the formation, interactions with minerals, and turnover and storage
of NOM and its biophysico-chemical roles in environmental systems
is essential for the development of innovative management strategies
for sustaining the environment.
Physical, chemical, and biological processes are not independent
but rather interactive processes in the environmental systems. These
fundamental interactive processes govern the genesis, nature, properties,
transformation, and biophysico-chemical roles of NOM. However, little
is known on the fundamentals of physicochemical and biological interfacial
reactions and the impact on NOM in nature. To advance the frontiers
of knowledge on the subject matter, it would require a concerted
effort of scientists in relevant physical and life sciences such
as chemistry, mineralogy, geochemistry, microbiology, ecology, and
soil, atmospheric, and aquatic sciences. Environmental science is
indeed the fusion of physical and life sciences. Scientific progress
in advancing the understanding of NOM in the environment is based
ultimately on unification rather than fragmentation of knowledge.
In contrast to the classical books which largely focus on separate
physicochemical and biological aspects, this proposed book aims
to integrate the frontiers of knowledge on the fundamentals and
the impact of interfacial interactions of physicochemical and biological
processes on NOM in soil, sediment, water, and air. This book would
achieve this goal by bringing together world-renowned international
scientists to integrate the current state-of -the-art, especially
the latest discoveries, development, and future prospects on NOM
(See Part I of the book).
By virtue of the heterogeneous and complex nature of NOM, no single
available technique and instrument is satisfactory yet for the characterization
and analysis of NOM. In order to fully understand the biophysico-chemical
functions of NOM, it is critical to know chemical, structural and
thermodynamic properties of NOM. Part II
of this book will present the state-of-the-art analytical techniques
and methods for studying NOM.
The proposed book is unique because of its multidisciplinary approach.
It will provide a comprehensive and integrated coverage of NOM in
various environments and associated analytical techniques, which
is currently absent from the scientific literature.
It is proposed to have 18 chapters in two parts. Part I will have
12 chapters focusing on fundamentals and impacts of mineral-organic-biota
interactions on the formation, transformation, turnover, and storage
of NOM, and Part II will have 6 chapters on analytical methods for
investigation of NOM (see 'Progress' below). The proposed chapter
authors are leading international authorities on their subject matter.
Book draft contents (revised Nov 2006)