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Influence of chloride ions on the reduction of mercury species in the presence of dissolved organic matter

Lee, Seyong, Roh, Younghee, Kim, Kyoung-Woong
Environmental geochemistry and health 2019 v.41 no.1 pp. 71-79
anaerobic conditions, aquatic environment, bioavailability, chlorides, dissolved organic matter, ions, mercury, oxidation, thermodynamic models
Mercuric species, Hg(II), interacts strongly with dissolved organic matter (DOM) through the oxidation, reduction, and complexation that affect the fate, bioavailability, and cycling of mercury, Hg, in aquatic environments. Despite its importance, the reactions between Hg(II) and DOM have rarely been studied in the presence of different concentrations of chloride ions (Cl⁻) under anoxic conditions. Here, we report that the extent of Hg(II) reduction in the presence of the reduced DOM decreases with increasing Cl⁻ concentrations. The rate constants of Hg(II) reduction ranged from 0.14 to 1.73 h⁻¹ in the presence of Cl⁻ and were lower than the rate constant (2.41 h⁻¹) in the absence of Cl⁻. Using a thermodynamic model, we showed that stable Hg(II)–chloride complexes were formed in the presence of Cl⁻. We further examined that H(0) was oxidized to Hg(II) in the presence of the reduced DOM and Cl⁻ under anoxic conditions, indicating that Hg(II) reduction is inhibited by the Hg(0) oxidation. Therefore, the Hg(II) reduction by the reduced DOM can be offset due to the Hg(II)–chloride complexation and Hg(0) oxidation in chloride-rich environments. These processes can significantly influence the speciation of Hg and have an important implication for the behavior of Hg under environmentally relevant concentrations.