Evidence for regulation of monomethyl mercury by nitrate in a seasonally stratified, eutrophic lake

Svetoslava Todorova, Charles T Driscoll, David A. Matthews, Steven W. Effler, Mark E. Hines, Elizabeth A. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The accumulation of monomethyl mercury (CH3Hg+) in aquatic ecosystems is a redox sensitive process that is accelerated under sulfate-reducing conditions. While nitrate (NO3 -) reduction is energetically favored over sulfate reduction, the influence of NO3 - on the accumulation of CH3Hg+ has not been reported in the literature. We examined temporal and vertical patterns in redox constituents and CH3Hg+ concentrations in the hypolimnion of a dimictic lake, Onondaga Lake, prior to and following increases in NO3 - inputs. Detailed water-column profiles and a long-term record revealed marked decreases in the accumulation of CH 3Hg+ in the anoxic hypolimnion coinciding with long-term decreases in the deposition of organic matter coupled with recent increases in NO3 - concentrations. CH3Hg+ concentrations in the hypolimnion were substantially abated when NO 3 - was present above the sediment-water interface. A decrease in the peak hypolimnetic mass of CH3Hg+ and shortening of the period of elevated CH3Hg+ concentrations resulted in more than a 50% decline in the accumulated CH3Hg +. NO3 - regulation of CH3Hg + accumulation may be a widespread phenomenon in oxygen-limited freshwater and terrestrial environments, and could have an important, not previously recognized, effect on the biogeochemistry of mercury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6572-6578
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume43
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

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Mercury
Sulfates
Lakes
hypolimnion
Biogeochemistry
nitrate
Aquatic ecosystems
Water
lake
Nitrates
Biological materials
Sediments
Oxygen
sulfate
freshwater environment
terrestrial environment
sediment-water interface
biogeochemistry
aquatic ecosystem
water column

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Evidence for regulation of monomethyl mercury by nitrate in a seasonally stratified, eutrophic lake. / Todorova, Svetoslava; Driscoll, Charles T; Matthews, David A.; Effler, Steven W.; Hines, Mark E.; Henry, Elizabeth A.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 43, No. 17, 01.09.2009, p. 6572-6578.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Todorova, Svetoslava ; Driscoll, Charles T ; Matthews, David A. ; Effler, Steven W. ; Hines, Mark E. ; Henry, Elizabeth A. / Evidence for regulation of monomethyl mercury by nitrate in a seasonally stratified, eutrophic lake. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2009 ; Vol. 43, No. 17. pp. 6572-6578.
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