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Abstract

One of the most essential parameters limiting the potential use of the ecosystem (soil, water) is the content of the organic matter. The natural organic matter (NOM) is a ubiquitous component of the lithosphere and hydrosphere that constitutes one of the largest reservoirs of the carbon in the environment. Natural organic substances play several important functions in ecosystems and they are necessary for their normal functioning. Despite many years of the research and using many advanced analytical techniques, their structure has not been fully explained. The main aim of this review is to present the actual state of the knowledge about the natural organic matter and provide a comprehensive overview of the research that has explored up to date in this matter. The additional attention was focused on the relations within and between humic and fulvic acids in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Special attention is focused on the analytical methods used to analysis natural organic matter