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In this study, bacterial mercury (Hg) methylation was investigated under the influence of red-tide algae of Skeletonema costatum (S. costatum). The distribution and speciation of total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) were profiled by employing Geobacter metallireducens (G. metallireducens GS-15) as the methylating bacteria. G. metallireducens GS-15 showed different capabilities in methylating different inorganic forms of Hg(II) (HgCl) and Hg(II)-Algae (HgCl captured by S. costatum) to MeHg. In the absence of S. costatum, a maximum methylation efficiency of 4.31 ± 0.47% was achieved with Hg(II) of 1-100 μg L, while accelerated MeHg formation rate was detected at a higher initial Hg(II) concentration. In the presence of S. costatum, there were distinct changes in the distribution of THg and MeHg by altering the bioavailability of Hg(II) and Hg(II)-Algae. A larger proportion of THg tended to be retained by a higher algal biomass, resulting in decreased methylation efficiencies. The methylation efficiency of Hg(II) decreased from 3.01 ± 0.10% to 1.01 ± 0.01% with 10-mL and 250-mL algal media, and that of Hg(II)-Algae decreased from 0.83 ± 0.13% to 0.22 ± 0.01% with 10-mL and 250-mL Hg(II)-Algae media. Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, surface charge properties and elemental compositions of S. costatum were used to infer that amine, carboxyl and sulfonate functional groups were most likely to interact with Hg(II) through complexation and/or electrostatic attraction. These results suggest that red-tide algae may be an influencing factor on bacterial Hg methylation in eutrophic water bodies.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
Algae and mercury (Hg) are ubiquitous in marine environments. In this study, we investigated the effects of a typical marine algae of diatom Skeletonema costatum on Hg methylation by an iron-reducing ...
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Addition of methyl groups. In histo-chemistry methylation is used to esterify carboxyl groups and remove sulfate groups by treating tissue sections with hot methanol in the presence of hydrochloric acid. (From Stedman, 25th ed)
Stable mercury atoms that have the same atomic number as the element mercury, but differ in atomic weight. Hg-196, 198-201, and 204 are stable mercury isotopes.
Poisoning that results from chronic or acute ingestion, injection, inhalation, or skin absorption of MERCURY or MERCURY COMPOUNDS.
Unstable isotopes of mercury that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. Hg atoms with atomic weights 185-195, 197, 203, 205, and 206 are radioactive mercury isotopes.
A silver metallic element that exists as a liquid at room temperature. It has the atomic symbol Hg (from hydrargyrum, liquid silver), atomic number 80, and atomic weight 200.59. Mercury is used in many industrial applications and its salts have been employed therapeutically as purgatives, antisyphilitics, disinfectants, and astringents. It can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes which leads to MERCURY POISONING. Because of its toxicity, the clinical use of mercury and mercurials is diminishing.