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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Influence of Eutrophication on the Distribution of Total Mercury and Methylmercury in Hydroelectric Reservoirs


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 5, p. 1624-1635
    Received: Nov 4, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): fengxinbin@vip.skleg.cn
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  1. Bo Mengab,
  2. X. B. Feng *a,
  3. C. X. Chena,
  4. G. L. Qiua,
  5. J. Sommara,
  6. Y. N. Guoa,
  7. P. Lianga and
  8. Q. Wana
  1. a State Key Lab. of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002
    b Graduate Univ. of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, P.R. China


The distribution of mercury (Hg) and the characteristics of its methylation were investigated in Wujiangdu (WJD) and Yinzidu (YZD) reservoirs in Guizhou province, China. The two reservoirs are characterized by high and low levels of primary productivity, respectively. Mercury species in water samples from depth profiles in both reservoirs and from interface water in the WJD were analyzed each season during 2007. The concentrations of total Hg (HgTunf) and methylmercury (MeHgTunf) in unfiltered water samples from the WJD varied from 3.0 to 18 pmol dm−3 and from 0.17 to 15 pmol dm−3, respectively; ranges were 2.0 to 9.5 pmol dm−3 for HgTunf and 0.14 to 2.2 pmol dm−3 for MeHgTunf in the YZD. Elevated methylmercury concentrations in water samples from the bottom water and water–sediment interface demonstrated an active net Hg methylation in the downstream reach of the WJD. There was no discernable Hg methylation occurring in the YZD, nor in the upstream and middle reaches of the WJD. The results suggest that high primary productivity resulting from cage aquaculture activities in the WJD is an important control on Hg methylation in the reservoir, increasing the concentrations of MeHg in water in the Wujiang River basin, southwestern China.

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