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Incidence of invasive macrophytes on methylmercury budget in temperate lakes: Central role of bacterial periphytic communities

Gentès, Sophie, Monperrus, Mathilde, Legeay, Alexia, Maury-Brachet, Régine, Davail, Stephane, André, Jean-Marc, Guyoneaud, Rémy
Environmental pollution 2013 v.172 pp. 116-123
ecosystems, food chain, lakes, macrophytes, mercury, methylation, methylmercury compounds, periphyton, polymerase chain reaction, prokaryotic cells, rhizosphere, roots, sediments, tracer techniques, France
Several studies demonstrated high mercury (Hg) methylation and demethylation in the periphyton associated with floating roots in tropical ecosystems. The importance of aquatic plants on methylmercury production in three temperate ecosystems from south-western France was evaluated through Hg species concentrations, and Hg methylation/demethylation activities by using stable isotopic tracers (199Hg(II), Me201Hg). Hg accumulation and high methylation and demethylation yields were detected in plant roots and periphyton, whereas results for sediment and water were low to insignificant. The presence of sulfate reducing prokaryotes was detected in all compartments (T-RFLP based on dsrAB amplified through nested PCR) and their main role in Hg methylation could be demonstrated. In turn, sulfate reduction inhibition did not affect demethylation activities. The estimation of net MeHg budgets in these ecosystems suggested that aquatic rhizosphere is the principal location for methylmercury production and may represent an important source for the contamination of the aquatic food chain.