Methylation Index and Analysis of SRB-Mediated Mercury Methylation

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Mercury methylation is a process by which Hg bio-accumulates in ecosystems. The methylation index is a parameter correlated with methylmercury (MeHg) concentration in water bodies based on sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB), particulate organic carbon (POC), sediment oxidation-reduction potential and mobile mercury concentration. The Michaelis–Menten equation for MeHg leads to an alternate comparison, in terms of , the MeHg saturation constant; , the half-saturation methylation constant; and , total sedimentary mercury. In Graph 2, river POC is estimated as 56 M/L, estuarine POC is estimated as 6 M/L, and seawater is estimated as 0.3 M/L. Graph 3 also displays the limit of MeHg formation in the system as mobile mercury concentration increases.

Contributed by: Shloka Janapaty (April 2020)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] J. Bełdowski, M. Miotk and J. Pempkowiak, "Methylation Index as Means of Quantification of the Compliance of Sedimentary Mercury to Be Methylated," Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(8), 2015 498. doi:10.1007%2Fs10661-015-4716-y.

[2] D. Cossa, C. Garnier, R. Buscail, F. Elbaz-Poulichet, N. Mikac, N. Patel-Sorrentino, E. Tessier et al., "A Michaelis–Menten Type Equation for Describing Methylmercury Dependence on Inorganic Mercury in Aquatic Sediments," Biogeochemistry, 119(1–3), 2014 pp. 35–43. doi:10.1007/s10533-013-9924-3.

[3] K. N. Baer, "Fundamentals of Aquatic Toxicology: Effects, Environmental Fate, and Risk Assessment," Journal of the American College of Toxicology, 15(5) 1996 pp. 453–454. doi:10.1177/109158189601500514.

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