To develop a proper indicator which could predict water quality and trace pollution sources is critically important for the management of sustainable aquatic ecosystem. In our study, seven water samples collected from Wuliangsuhai Lake in Inner Mongolia were used. UV-visible spectra and synchronous fluorescence spectra were applied to investigate the humification degree and aromatic structure of dissolved organic matter (DOM) extracted from water samples. The results showed that both samples from W1 site and W3 site display lower humification degree and less aromatic structure, where industrial wastewater and domestic sewage, and reclaimed water of farmland irrigation, were accepted respectively. After computing the values of SUVA254, A280, A250/365, A253/203 and A226–400, we reached the conclusion that they have a consistent trend (W4> W6> W5> W2> W7> W1> W3). Fluorescence index (f450/500) was always utilised to interpret the origin of organic matter in a complex aquatic environment system. Values of f450/500 are closer to 1.60, indicating that humic substances derived from terrestrial sources and biological sources. Our study demonstrated that reclaimed water of farmland irrigation, industrial wastewater and domestic sewage will definitely influence the humification degree and amount of the aromatic structure of DOM.
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