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ORIGIN AND FATE OF METHYLMERCURY

Objective

TO INVESTIGATE THE EXTENT TO WHICH BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC PROCESSES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FORMATION OF METHYLMERCURY OBSERVED IN FRESHWATER AND MARINE ORGANISMS.

THIS PROJECT FORMS PART OF AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROJECT. IT WILL INVESTIGATE IN VIVO AND IN VITRO THE GEOCHEMICAL FORMATION OF METHYLMERCURY IN FRESHWATER AND MARINE ECOSYSTEMS AND ITS PATHWAYS THROUGH THE ENVIRONMENT. THREE AREAS WILL MAINLY BE COMPARED :

A) THE MONTE AMIATA REGION, CHARACTERIZED BY A GEOCHEMICAL ANOMALY OF HIGH MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS

B) AN AREA CONTAMINATED BY MERCURY RELEASE FROM THE CHLOR-ALKALI INDUSTRY, AND

C) A CONTROL AREA WITH LOW BACKGROUND LEVELS OF MERCURY.

EMPHASIS WILL BE GIVEN TO THE FURTHER REFINEMENT AND INTERCALIBRATION OF METHODOLOGIES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF VERY LOW LEVELS OF METHYLMERCURY AND OTHER HG SPECIES OCCURING UNDER "REAL-LIFE" CONDITIONS IN THE VARIOUS COMPARTMENTS OF THE FRESHWATER AND MARINE ENVIRONMENT (WATER COLUMN, SEDIMENTS, SUSPENDED MATTER, FRESHWATER AND MARINE BIOTA).

TRACER EXPERIMENTS ON BIOAVAILABILITY, BIOACCUMULATION, LOSS AND TRANSFORMATION IN MARINE EXPERIMENTAL ECOSYSTEMS WITH EMPHASIS ON THE CHEMICAL PRODUCTION OF METHYLMERCURY WILL BE PERFORMED TO COMPARE LABORATORY AND FIELD RESULTS.

ECOTOXICOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS OF THE FATE AND TRANSFER OF MERCURY COMPOUNDS, SIMULATING THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIPS AT THE COMMUNITY AND ECOSYSTEM LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL ORGANISATION, AS WELL AS INVESTIGATIONS ON THE UPTAKE MECHANISMS OF HG COMPOUNDS AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL, WILL COMPLETE THIS JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM JUELICH GMBH
Address
Wilhelm Johnen Strasse
52425 Juelich
Germany