Document Detail

Methylmercury production in estuarine sediments: role of organic matter.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23194318     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Methylmercury (MeHg) affects wildlife and human health mainly through marine fish consumption. In marine systems, MeHg is formed from inorganic mercury (Hg(II)) species primarily in sediments, then accumulates and biomagnifies in the food web. Most of the fish consumed in the United States are from estuarine and marine systems, highlighting the importance of understanding MeHg formation in these productive regions. Sediment organic matter has been shown to limit mercury methylation in estuarine ecosystems, as a result it is often described as the primary control over MeHg production. In this paper, we explore the role of organic matter by looking at the effects of its changing sediment concentrations on the methylation rates across multiple estuaries. We measured sedimentary MeHg production at eleven estuarine sites that were selected for their contrasting biogeochemical characteristics, mercury (Hg) content, and location in the Northeastern U.S. (ME, NH, CT, NY, and NJ). Sedimentary total Hg concentrations ranged across 5 orders of magnitude, increasing in concentration from the pristine, sandy sediments of Wells (ME), to industrially contaminated areas such as Portsmouth (NH) and Hackensack (NJ). We find that methylation rates are the highest at locations with high Hg content (relative to carbon), and that organic matter does not hinder mercury methylation in estuaries.
Amina T Schartup; Robert P Mason; Prentiss H Balcom; Terill A Hollweg; Celia Y Chen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2012-12-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental science & technology     Volume:  47     ISSN:  1520-5851     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Sci. Technol.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-15     Completed Date:  2013-06-24     Revised Date:  2014-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213155     Medline TA:  Environ Sci Technol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  695-700     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Environmental Monitoring
Fishes / metabolism
Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
Humic Substances / analysis
Mercury / analysis*
Methylmercury Compounds / analysis*
Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Humic Substances; 0/Methylmercury Compounds; 0/Water Pollutants, Chemical; FXS1BY2PGL/Mercury

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