RDOM is recalcitrant dissolved organic matter found in the ocean. Other organic matter is feed for a variety of microorganisms and life forms. RDOM is not. It is almost permanent and contains 20% of the earth’s organic carbon.
Is this automatic sequestration of carbon in the ocean? Is it a possible energy source? Is it a precursor to coal or oil?
In his book, “Regenesis,” (2012), Harvard molecular biologist, George Church, offers a theory. Many organic materials can exist as mirror images–i.e., left handed or right handed. They rotate polarized light left or right. When synthesized you get an equal mix of left and right that doesn’t rotate light (unless specially prepared). Living systems usually produce only the optically active form. Often one of the possible forms is much more active or biodegradable than the others. It is known that some optically active materials flip under some conditions (such as heating). That is they can lose their optical activity.
Church suggests that RDOM is an accumulation of materials that resist biological processes because they are the left over inactive form.
Wikipedia has updated info in its dissolved organic carbon article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolved_organic_carbon
There RDOM is DCOR with a turnover time of thousands of years.