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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2003

Bonding of ppb levels of methyl mercury to reduced sulfur groups in soil organic matter

Karlsson T, Skyllberg U


The strong binding of CH3Hg+ to natural organic matter (NOM) in soils and waters determines the speciation of CH3Hg under aerobic conditions and indirectly its bioavailability and rates of demethylation. In lab experiments, halides (Cl, Br, 1) were used as competing ligands to determine the strength of CH3Hg+ binding to solid-phase soil organic carbon (SOC) and to dissolved soil organic carbon (DOC) as a function of time, pH, and concentration of halide. Experiments were conducted with native concentrations of CH3Hg (1.7-9.8 ng g(-1)) in organic soils, and equilibrium concentrations of CH3Hg were determined by species-specific-isotope-dilution (SSID) gas-chromatographyinduced-coupled-plasma-mass-spectrometry (GC-ICP-MS). A simple model (RS- + CH3Hg+ = CH3HgSR; log K-CH3HgSR) was used to simulate the binding to SOC and DOC, in which the binding sites (RSH) were independently determined by X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. The pK(a) values of RSH groups were fixed at 8.50 and 9.95, reflecting the two major thiol groups in proteins. Log K-CH3HgSR values determined for SOC and DOC were similar, showing a range of 15.6-17.1 for all experiments covering a pH range of 2.0-5.1. Despite large differences in affinities between Cl, Br, and I for CH3Hg+, determined constants were independent of type and concentration of halide used in the experiments (log KCH3HgSR = 16.1-16.7 at pH 3.5-3.6). Even if our log KCH3HgSR values were conditional in that they decreased with pH above 3.5, they were in fair agreement with stability constants determined for the association between CH3Hg+ and thiol groups in well-defined organic molecules (log K-1 = 15.71-17.5). Speciation calculations based on our results show that, in absence of substantial concentrations of inorganic sulfides, neutral chloro-complexes (CH3HgCl) and free CH3Hg+ reach concentrations on the order of 10(-17)-10(-18) M at pH 5 in soil solutions with 3 x 10(-5) M of chloride

Publicerad i

Environmental Science and Technology
2003, Volym: 37, nummer: 21, sidor: 4912-4918

      SLU författare

    • Karlsson, Torbjörn

      • Institutionen för skogsekologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
      • Skyllberg, Ulf

        • Institutionen för skogsekologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

      UKÄ forskningsämne

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
      Fish and Aquacultural Science

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