TL;DR: It is shown that under aerobic conditions, methylmercury formation under Anaerobic conditions and under Aerobic conditions is more stable than under either of the other conditions.
Abstract: METHYLATION OF MERCURY BY MICROORGANISMS ..................................... 96 Mechanism of Methylation of Mercury....................................................... 96 Methylmercury Formation Under Anaerobic Conditions ........................................ 97 Methylmercury Formation Under Aerobic Conditions .......................................... 97 Effects of HgS on Methylation of Mercury .......... .......................................... 98
TL;DR: The current state of knowledge on the physicochemical behavior of mercury in the aquatic environment, and in particular the environmental factors influencing its transformation into highly toxic methylated forms is examined in this paper.
Abstract: Mercury is one of the most hazardous contaminants that may be present in the aquatic environment, but its ecological and toxicological effects are strongly dependent on the chemical species present. Species distribution and transformation processes in natural aquatic systems are controlled by various physical, chemical, and biological factors. Depending on the prevailing environmental conditions, inorganic mercury species may be converted to many times more toxic methylated forms such as methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin that is readily accumulated by aquatic biota. Despite a considerable amount of literature on the subject, the behavior of mercury and many of the transformation and distribution mechanisms operating in the natural aquatic environment are still poorly understood. This review examines the current state of knowledge on the physicochemical behavior of mercury in the aquatic environment, and in particular the environmental factors influencing its transformation into highly toxic methylated forms.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors applied substrate-electron acceptor combinations and specific metabolic inhibitors to anoxic saltmarsh sediment spiked with mercuric ions (Hg2+) in an effort to identify, by a direct approach, the microorganisms responsible for the synthesis of hazardous monomethylmercury.
Abstract: Substrate-electron acceptor combinations and specific metabolic inhibitors were applied to anoxic saltmarsh sediment spiked with mercuric ions (Hg2+) in an effort to identify, by a direct approach, the microorganisms responsible for the synthesis of hazardous monomethylmercury. 2-Bromoethane sulfonate (30 mM), a specific inhibitor of methanogens, increased monomethylmercury synthesis, whereas sodium molybdate (20 mM), a specific inhibitor of sulfate reducers, decreased Hg2+ methylation by more than 95%. Anaerobic enrichment and isolation procedures yielded a Desulfovibrio desulfuricans culture that vigorously methylated Hg2+ in culture solution and also in samples of presterilized sediment. The Hg2+ methylation activity of sulfate reducers is fully expressed only when sulfate is limiting and fermentable organic substrates are available. To date, sulfate reducers have not been suspected of Hg2+ methylation. Identification of these bacteria as the principal methylators of Hg2+ in anoxic sediments raises questions about the environmental relevance of previous pure culture-based methylation work.
01 Jan 1987
TL;DR: A review of the available literature on the ecological and toxicological aspects of mercury (Hg) in the environment, with special reference to fish and wildlife resources, is reviewed and summarized in this paper.
Abstract: SUMMARY Available literature on the ecological and toxicological aspects of mercury (Hg) in the environment, with special reference to fish and wildlife resources, is reviewed and summarized. Subdivisions include sources, chemical properties, background concentrations, acute and chronic toxicity, sublethal effects, and proposed criteria to protect sensitive resources. Mercury has been used by man for at least 2,300 years, most recently as a fungicide in agriculture, in the manufacture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, as a slime control agent in the pulp and paper industry, in the production of plastics and electrical apparatus, and in mining and smelting operations. Mercury burdens in some environmental compartments are estimated to have increased up to 5X precultural levels, primarily as a result of man's activities. The construction of artificial reservoirs, for example, which releases Hg from flooded soils, has contributed to the observed elevation of Hg concentrations in fish tissues from these localities. Elevated levels of Hg in living organisms in Hg-contaminated areas may persist for as long as 100 years after the source of pollution has been discontinued. One major consequence of increased mercury use, coupled with careless waste disposal practices, has been a sharp increase in the number of epidemics of fatal mercury poisonings in humans, wildlife, and aquatic organisms. Most authorities agree on six points: (1) mercury and its compounds have no known biological function, and the presence of the metal in the cells of living organisms is undesirable and potentially hazardous; (2) forms of mercury with relatively low toxicity can be transformed into forms of very high toxicity, such as methylmercury, through biological and other processes; (3) mercury can be bioconcentrated in organisms and biomagnified through food chains; (4) mercury is a mutagen, teratogen, and carcinogen, and causes embryocidal, cytochemical, and histopathological effects; (5) some species of fish and wildlife contain high concentrations of Hg that are not attributable to human activities; (6) anthropogenic use of Hg should be curtailed, as the difference between tolerable natural background levels of Hg and harmful effects in the environment is exceptionally small. Concentrations of total Hg lethal to sensitive, representative, nonhuman species range from 0.1 to 2.0 ug/l (ppb) of medium for aquatic organisms; from 2,200 to 31,000 ug/kg body weight (acute oral) and 4,000 to 40,000 ug/kg (dietary) for birds; and from 100 to 500 ug/kg body weight (daily dose) and 1,000 to 5,000 ug/kg diet for mammals. Organomercury compounds, especially methylmercury, …
TL;DR: Microorganisms can enzymatically reduce a variety of metals in metabolic processes that are not related to metal assimilation, including technetium, vanadium, molybdenum, gold, silver, and copper, but reduction of these metals has not been studied extensively.
Abstract: Microorganisms can enzymatically reduce a variety of metals in metabolic processes that are not related to metal assimilation. Some microorganisms can conserve energy to support growth by coupling the oxidation of simple organic acids and alcohols, H2, or aromatic compounds to the reduction of Fe(III) or Mn(IV). This dissimilatory Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction influences the organic as well as the inorganic geochemistry of anaerobic aquatic sediments and ground water. Microorganisms that use U(VI) as a terminal electron acceptor play an important role in uranium geochemistry and may be a useful tool for removing uranium from contaminated environments. Se(VI) serves as a terminal electron acceptor to support anaerobic growth of some microorganisms. Reduction of Se(VI) to Se(O) is an important mechanism for the precipitation of selenium from contaminated waters. Enzymatic reduction of Cr(VI) to the less mobile and less toxic Cr(III), and reduction of soluble Hg(II) to volatile Hg(O) may affect the fate of these compounds in the environment and might be used as a remediation strategy. Microorganisms can also enzymatically reduce other metals such as technetium, vanadium, molybdenum, gold, silver, and copper, but reduction of these metals has not been studied extensively.