The structural characterization of an aquatic fulvic acid was attempted. Several approaches toward obtaining information concerning the structure of a fulvic acid were taken. These included analysis of the products from a mild oxidative degradation, elemental analysis, and spectroscopic analysis of the undegraded fulvic acid. The oxidative degradation method employed for this research was an alkaline cupric oxide oxidation. Validation of this method with model compounds was accomplished prior to the oxidation of the fulvic acid by this technique. The products obtained from this procedure were analyzed by gas chromatography and combined gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Spectroscopic techniques employed for the purposes of analyzing the structure of the undegraded fulvic acid include infrared spectroscopy and proton and solid state (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies. Additionally, the effects of the oxidative conditions employed for the alkaline cupric oxide oxidation on selected compounds was investigated. Analysis of the resulting products was performed in the same manner as that for the oxidatively degraded fulvic acid.