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Molecular composition of organic matter controls methylmercury formation in boreal lakes
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
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2017 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 8, 14255Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A detailed understanding of the formation of the potent neurotoxic methylmercury is neededto explain the large observed variability in methylmercury levels in aquatic systems. While it is known that organic matter interacts strongly with mercury, the role of organic matter composition in the formation of methylmercury in aquatic systems remains poorly understood. Here we show that phytoplankton-derived organic compounds enhance mercurymethylation rates in boreal lake sediments through an overall increase of bacterial activity. Accordingly, in situ mercury methylation defines methylmercury levels in lake sediments strongly influenced by planktonic blooms. In contrast, sediments dominated by terrigenous organic matter inputs have far lower methylation rates but higher concentrations of methylmercury, suggesting that methylmercury was formed in the catchment and imported into lakes. Our findings demonstrate that the origin and molecular composition of organic matter are critical parameters to understand and predict methylmercury formation and accumulation in boreal lake sediments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2017. Vol. 8, 14255
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Chemical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131262DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14255ISI: 000393586600001PubMedID: 28181492OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-131262DiVA: diva2:1073287
Available from: 2017-02-10 Created: 2017-02-10 Last updated: 2017-03-08Bibliographically approved

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Bouchet, SylvainTolu, JulieBjörn, Erik
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CiteExportLink to record
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