This contribution reviews and discusses structural aspects of soil organic matter (SOM) and humic substances (HS) with special respect to the macromolecular and the supramolecular view. It can be concluded that (1) dissolved humic acids behave as supramolecular associations of relatively small molecules with an enormous flexibility of reaction of environmental conditions, (2) multivalent cations may increase the apparent molecular weight by the formation of coordinative crosslinks in dissolved and undissolved natural organic matter (NOM), (3) sorption nonlinearity in solid humic acids and SOM may be due to polymer properties of NOM, (4) sorbates affect sorbent characteristics of SOM, and (5) hysteresis and conditioning effects in SOM can up to now best be explained with the polymer analogy. A distinct polydispersivity of SOM over a wide range of molecular masses is to be assumed.
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