Measuring mercury in wood

challenging but important

Yang Yang, Ruth D. Yanai, Mario Montesdeoca, Charles T Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) in tree wood has been overlooked, in part because concentrations are so low as to be below detection limits of some analytical methods, but it is potentially important to forest ecosystem processes and budgets. We tested methods for the preparation and determination of Hg in tree wood by analysing samples of four tree species at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA, using thermal decomposition, catalytic conversion, amalgamation and atomic absorption spectrophotometry (USEPA Method 7473). Samples that were freeze-dried or oven-dried at 65°C were suitable for determination of Hg, whereas oven-drying at 103°C resulted in Hg losses, and air-drying resulted in Hg gains, presumably due to sorption from indoor air. Mean (±SE) concentrations of Hg tree bole wood were 1.75 ± 0.14 ng g−1 for American beech, 1.48 ± 0.23 ng g−1 for sugar maple, 3.96 ± 0.19 ng g−1 for red spruce and 4.59 ± 0.06 ng g−1 for balsam fir. Based on these concentrations and estimates of wood biomass by species based on stand inventory, we estimated the Hg content of wood in the reference watershed at Hubbard Brook to be 0.32 g ha−1, twice the size of the foliar Hg pool (0.15 g ha−1). Mercury in wood deserves more attention and is feasible to measure using appropriate techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-467
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Volume97
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 9 2017

Fingerprint

Mercury
mercury
Wood
Ovens
ovens
Drying
Air
Acer
Fagus
Abies
Fagus grandifolia
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Atomic Spectrophotometry
experimental forests
thermal degradation
Abies balsamea
Acer saccharum subsp. saccharum
thermal decomposition
air drying
Spectrophotometry

Keywords

  • Abies balsamea (L.) Mill
  • Acer saccharum Marsh
  • Fagus grandifolia Ehrh
  • Picea rubens Sarg
  • sample preparation
  • wood mercury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Measuring mercury in wood : challenging but important. / Yang, Yang; Yanai, Ruth D.; Montesdeoca, Mario; Driscoll, Charles T.

In: International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 97, No. 5, 09.04.2017, p. 456-467.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yang, Yang ; Yanai, Ruth D. ; Montesdeoca, Mario ; Driscoll, Charles T. / Measuring mercury in wood : challenging but important. In: International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry. 2017 ; Vol. 97, No. 5. pp. 456-467.
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