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Title: X-ray fluorescence mapping of mercury on suspended mineral particles and diatoms in a contaminated freshwater system

Mercury (Hg) bioavailability and geochemical cycling is affected by its partitioning between the aqueous and particulate phases. We applied X-ray fluorescence (XRF) microprobes to directly visualize and quantify the spatial localization of Hg and its correlations with other elements of interest on suspended particles from a Hg contaminated freshwater system. Up to 175 μg g–1 Hg is found on suspended particles. Mercury is heterogeneously distributed among phytoplankton (e.g., diatoms) and mineral particles that are rich in iron oxides and natural organic matter (NOM), possibly as Hg-NOM-iron oxide ternary complexes. The diatom-bound Hg is mostly found on outer surfaces of the cells, suggesting passive sorption of inorganic Hg on diatoms. Our results indicate that localized sorption of Hg onto suspended particles, including diatoms and NOM-coated oxide minerals, is an important sink for Hg in natural aquatic environments.
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Publication Date:
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Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1810-6285
European Geosciences Union
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
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