alexa Biogeochemistry of mercury and methylmercury in sediment cores from Sundarban mangrove wetland, India--a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

Author(s): Chatterjee M, Canrio J, Sarkar SK, Branco V, Godhantaraman N, , Chatterjee M, Canrio J, Sarkar SK, Branco V, Godhantaraman N,

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Abstract This study was performed to elucidate the distribution, concentration trend and possible sources of total mercury (Hg(T)) and methylmercury (MeHg) in sediment cores (<63 μm particle size; n = 75) of Sundarban mangrove wetland, northeastern part of the Bay of Bengal, India. Total mercury was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) in a Leco AMA 254 instrument and MeHg by gas chromatography-atomic fluorescence spectrometry (GC-AFS). A wide range of variation in Hg(T) (0.032-0.196 μg g(-1) dry wt.) as well as MeHg (0.04-0.13 ng g(-1) dry wt.) concentrations revealed a slight local contamination. The prevalent low Hg(T) levels in sediments could be explained by sediment transport by the tidal Hugli (Ganges) River that would dilute the Hg(T) values via sediment mixing processes. A broader variation of MeHg proportions (\%) were also observed in samples suggesting that other environmental variables such as organic carbon and microbial activity may play a major role in the methylation process. An overall elevated concentration of Hg(T) in surface layers (0-4 cm) of the core is due to remobilization of mercury from deeper sediments. Based on the index of geoaccumulation (I (geo)) and low effects-range (ER-L) values, it is considered that the sediment is less polluted by Hg(T) and there is less ecotoxicological risk. The paper provides the first information of MeHg in sediments from this wetland environment and the authors strongly recommend further examination of Hg(T) fluxes for the development of a detailed coastal MeHg model. This could provide more refine estimates of a total flux into the water column. This article was published in Environ Monit Assess and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

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