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Sci Total Environ. 2019 Jun 10;668:592-601. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.353. Epub 2019 Feb 23.

Molecular characteristics of sedimentary organic matter in controlling mercury (Hg) and elemental mercury (Hg0) distribution in tropical estuarine sediments.

Author information

1
Geological Oceanography Division, CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India.
2
Geological Oceanography Division, CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India; Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, West Bengal 721302, India. Electronic address: pchak@coral.iitkgp.ac.in.
3
Business Development Group, CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India.
4
Chemical Oceanography Division, CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India.

Abstract

Sedimentary organic matter (SOM) plays an important role in hosting and reducing HgII in marine/estuarine sediment. This study provides a better understanding on the influence of nature of SOM, in regulating sedimentary mercury (Hg) and elemental mercury (Hg0) distribution, and speciation in the Zuari and Mandovi Estuaries that are representative of monsoon fed tropical estuaries, located in the central west coast of India. Salinity of the overlying water column controlled the physical and chemical characteristics of SOM in the estuarine systems. The high molecular weight (MW) SOM dominated at the mid and upstream (low salinity region) of the estuaries, whereas, the low MW SOM prevailed at the downstream (high salinity region). Sediment Hg showed more affinity towards the SOM of high MW. Increasing MW of SOM increased total sedimentary HgT in both the estuaries. SOM with low MW in the estuarine sediment displayed a negative relationship with the sediment Hg concentration. Distribution of Hg0 concentration in the estuarine sediment suggests that reduction of HgII in presence low MW SOM was a dominant process. It was also found that distribution and speciation of Hg0 in the estuarine sediment depends on the quantity, quality of the SOM, and the total sediment Hg loading. This study demonstrated that the competition between Hg-SOM complexation and HgII reduction by SOM controls HgII/Hg0 distribution in tropical estuarine sediment systems.

KEYWORDS:

Estuarine sediment; Mercury complexation; Mercury reduction; Mercury speciation; Tropical estuary

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