This work deals with the formation of humic-like compounds, products of the Maillard reaction between glycine and D-glucose, on clay (K+, Ca2+ and Al3+-saturated montmorillonite and kaolinite) and quartz systems in the presence of the same cations. Natural quartz was used as the control while the effect of cation type, mineral substrate and CEC was evaluated. All the systems form humic-like substances that are probably responsible for the decrease in the pH (H2O) after 30 d. The type of cation does not influence the overall production of humic substances, while the amount of cations controls the formation of humic-like material especially in the presence of clays. A mineral surface is necessary to synthesize molecules with this high degree of complexity.
Fulvic-like compounds are produced in great amounts on natural quartz and their formation is hampered by the presence of ‘free’ cations, regardless of their amount. Humic substances do not penetrate the interlayer of montmorillonite.