Effects of sulfate reducing bacteria and sulfate concentrations on mercury methylation in freshwater sediments

Dingding Shao, Yuan Kang, Shengchun Wu, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Methylmercury (MeHg) is the most poisonous form of mercury (Hg) and it enters the human body primarily through consumption of Hg contaminated fish. Sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) are major producers of MeHg in anoxic sediments. The dsrAB gene was isolated from freshwater fish pond sediments. Sequence analyses showed that the SRB in sediments was mainly composed of Desulfobulbus propionicus and Desulfovibrio vulgaris. The two species of SRB were cultured from freshwater sediments. The addition of inorganic Hg to these freshwater sediments caused an increase in MeHg concentrations at 30. days incubation. MeHg levels were sensitive to sulfate concentrations; a medium sulfate level (0.11. mg/g) produced higher levels than treatments lacking sulfate addition or when amended with 0.55. mg/g. Assessment of bacterial levels by PCR measurements of microbial DNA indicated that the MeHg levels were correlated with cell growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-336
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume424
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • DNA quantification
  • Methylmercury
  • Sulfate amendment
  • Sulfate reducing bacteria

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