Mercury methylation by Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ND132 in the presence of polysulfides

Jenny Ayla Jay, Karen J. Murray, Cynthia C. Gilmour, Robert P. Mason, Francois M. M. Morel, A. Lynn Roberts, Harold F. Hemond

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The extracellular speciation of mercury may control bacterial uptake and methylation. Mercury-polysulfide complexes have recently been shown to be prevalent in sulfidic waters containing zero-valent sulfur. Despite substantial increases in total dissolved mercury concentration, methylation rates in cultures of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ND132 equilibrated with cinnabar did not increase in the presence of polysulfides, as expected due to the large size and charged nature of most of the complexes. In natural waters not at saturation with cinnabar, mercury-polysulfide complexes would be expected to shift the speciation of mercury from HgS0(aq) toward charged complexes, thereby decreasing methylation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5741-5745
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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