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Effects of typical algae species (Aphanizomenon flosaquae and Microcystis aeruginosa) on photoreduction of Hg2+ in water body

Sun, Rongguo, Mo, Yafei, Feng, Xinbin, Zhang, Leiming, Jin, Lin, Li, Qiuhua
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.85 pp. 9-16
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Microcystis aeruginosa, algae, energy, laboratory experimentation, mercury, surface water, ultraviolet radiation, wavelengths
Photoreduction characteristics of divalent inorganic mercury (Hg2+) in the presence of specific algae species are still not well known. Laboratory experiments were conducted in the present study to identify the effects of different concentrations of living/dead algae species, including Aphanizomenon flosaquae (AF) and Microcystis aeruginosa (MA), on the photoreduction rate of Hg2+ under various light conditions. The experimental results showed that percentage reduction of Hg2+ was significantly influenced by radiation wavelengths, and dramatically decreased with the presence of algae. The highest percentage reduction of Hg2+ was induced by UV-A, followed by UV-B, visible light and dark for both living and dead AF, and the order was dark > UV-A > UV-B > visible light for both living and dead MA. There were two aspects, i.e., energy and attenuation rate of light radiation and excrementitious generated from algae metabolisms, were involved in the processes of Hg2+ photoreduction with the presence of algae under different light conditions. The percentage reduction of Hg2+ decreased from 15% to 11% when living and dead AF concentrations increased by 10 times (from 106 to 105 cells/mL), and decreased from11% to ~9% in the case of living and dead MA increased. Algae can adsorb Hg2+ and decrease the concentration of free Hg2+, thus inhibiting Hg2+ photoreduction, especially under the conditions with high concentrations of algae. No significant differences were found in percentage reduction of Hg2+ between living and dead treatments of algae species. The results are of great importance for understanding the role of algae in Hg2+ photoreduction.