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Title: Geochemical, Genetic, and Community Controls on Mercury

The sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are soil bacteria that share two common characteristics, strict anaerobiosis and the ability to respire sulfate. The metabolic activities of these bacteria play significant roles in the global sulfur cycle, anaerobic degradation of biomass, biological metal corrosion in the environment and, recently, degradation of toxic compounds. The accumulation of evidence suggests these bacteria are also key to the production of the neurotoxin methylmercury in environmental settings. We propose to use our experience with the development of genetics in sulfate-reducing bacteria of the genus Desulfovibrio to create mutations that will eliminate the methylation of mercury, thereby identifying the genes essential for this process. This information may allow the environmental monitoring of the mercury methylation potential to learn the location and quantity of the production this toxin. From these data, more accurate predictive models of mercury cycling can be generated.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
The Curators of the University of Missouri
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES Sulfate-reducing bacteria; Mercury methylation