Part Xa Aquatic Cycling of Mercury in Biota and Sediments

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 971-979

First online:

Relations between organic carbon and methylmercury in humic rich surface waters from Svartberget catchment in northern Sweden

  • Catharina PetterssonAffiliated withDept of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University
  • , Kevin BishopAffiliated withDept of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Ying -Hua LeeAffiliated withSwedish Enviromental Research Institute
  • , Bert AllardAffiliated withDept of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University

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Monthly sampling of a mire outlet and two tributaries, one of them originating in the mire, on the Svartberget catchment in northern Sweden was performed during one year. The concentration of total organic carbon (TOC) in the three waters was fairly high (10–40 mg/l). Methylmercury (MeHg) was analysed in the original water sample (MeHg-whl) and in the humic fraction (MeHg-hum). The MeHg-hum increased with increasing concentration of humic substances (HS; measured as absorbance at 254 nm) in the water. A seasonal variation of the MeHg-hum/TOC ratio was superimposed on a negative relationship to the water flow, which indicates that the methylation is a slow process which results in a rapid drainage of the storage during periods of high flow. A minimum of the MeHg-whl/TOC ratio observed during the spring flood was followed by a slow increase during the rest of the year.