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Determination of methylmercury in sediment and cyanobacteria samples: method validation and application to methylation investigation

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Abstract

The aim of this work was to validate two methods for methylmercury (CH3Hg+) determination in sediments and cyanobacteria and their application to the Hg methylation study of planktonic organisms in water from a contaminated site in Brazil. Analytical methods for the determination of CH3Hg+ include many steps, and the necessity of adaptation to different matrices is very common and not always easy. In addition, these adaptations require new optimization and validation, which are found in a few articles using the matrix sediments but in none with planktonic organisms. The methods presented here were based on the extraction of CH3Hg+ from these matrices, derivatization, trapping, thermal desorption, GC separation, pyrolysis and detection by AFS (GC-pyro-AFS). The results showed good linearity (0.994) in the range of 0 to 400 pg CH3Hg+ with a repeatability of 3%, an intermediate precision of 8%, a recovery in spiked sample tests in the range of 93 to 129%, and detection limits of 0.04 μg kg−1 for sediments and 1.3 μg kg−1 for cyanobacteria. Certified reference materials showed good recoveries. The method for the cyanobacteria matrix was used for the Hg2+ methylation assay with cultures of cyanobacteria and microalgae isolated from water samples collected in an ancient Hg-contaminated gold mining area in Brazil. The production of CH3Hg+ was detected only in the culture of the microalga Stichococcus species (0.23% of total Hg), indicating its participation in the biotransformation of Hg. The methods can be used as important tools in routine analysis and/or studies of the biogeochemical cycle of Hg.

Graphical abstract: Determination of methylmercury in sediment and cyanobacteria samples: method validation and application to methylation investigation

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Oct 2017, accepted on 21 Nov 2017 and first published on 21 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7AY02415K
Citation: Anal. Methods, 2018, Advance Article
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    Determination of methylmercury in sediment and cyanobacteria samples: method validation and application to methylation investigation

    L. A. Mendes, M. W. Franco, F. A. Rodrigues Barbosa, P. I. Aires de Carvalho, J. Carvalho de Lena and C. C. Windmöller, Anal. Methods, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7AY02415K

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