The dynamic interactions between dissolved organic matter (DOM) and particulate organic matter (POM) are central in nutrient cycling in freshwater ecosystems. However, the molecular-level mechanisms of such interactions are still poorly defined. Here, we study spatial differences in the chemical and molecular composition of suspended sediments in the River Chew, UK. We then applied a compound-specific stable isotope probing (SIP) approach to test the potential assimilation of 13C,15N-glutamate (Glu) and 15N-nitrate into proteinaceous biomass by particle-associated microbial communities over a 72-h period. Our results demonstrate that the composition of suspended sediments is strongly influenced by the effluent of sewage treatment works (STW). Fluxes and percentages of assimilation of both isotopically labelled substrates into individual proteinaceous amino acids (AAs) showed contrasting dynamics in processing at each site linked to primary biosynthetic metabolic pathways. Preferential assimilation of the organic molecule glutamate and evidence of its direct assimilation into newly synthesised biomass was obtained. Our approach provides quantitative molecular information on the mechanisms by which low molecular weight DOM is mineralised in the water column compared to an inorganic substrate. This is paramount for better understanding the processing and fate of organic matter in aquatic ecosystems.