Natural pumice particles were used as granular support media and coated with iron oxides to investigate their adsorptive natural organic matter (NOM) removal from waters. The impacts of natural pumice source, particle size fraction, pumice dose, pumice surface chemistry and specific surface area, and NOM source on the ultimate extent and rate of NOM removal were studied. All adsorption isotherm experiments were conducted employing the variable-dose completely mixed batch reactor bottle-point method. Iron oxide coating overwhelmed the surface electrical properties of the underlying pumice particles. Surface areas as high as 20.6 m(2) g(-1) were achieved after iron coating of pumice samples, which are above than those of iron coated sand samples reported in the literature. For all particle size fractions, iron coating of natural pumices significantly increased their NOM uptakes both on an adsorbent mass- and surface area-basis. The smallest size fractions (< 63 mu m) of coated pumices generally exhibited the highest NOM uptakes. A strong linear correlation between the iron contents of coated pumices and their Freundlich affinity parameters (K-F) indicated that the enhanced NOM uptake is due to iron oxides bound on pumice surfaces. Iron oxide coated pumice surfaces preferentially removed high UV-absorbing fractions of NOM, with UV absorbance reductions up to 90%. Control experiments indicated that iron oxide species bound on pumice surfaces are stable, and potential iron release to the solution is not a concern at pH values of typical natural waters. Based on high NOM adsorption capacities, iron oxide coated pumice may be a promising novel adsorbent in removing NOM from waters. Furthermore, due to preferential removal of high UV-absorbing NOM fractions, iron oxide coated pumice may also be effective in controlling the formation of disinfection by-products in drinking water treatment. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.