Mercury Inhibits Soil Enzyme Activity in a Lower Concentration than the Guideline Value
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- Mahbub, K.R., Krishnan, K., Megharaj, M. et al. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2016) 96: 76. doi:10.1007/s00128-015-1664-8
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Three soil types – neutral, alkaline and acidic were experimentally contaminated with nine different concentrations of inorganic mercury (0, 5, 10, 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 mg/kg) to derive effective concentrations of mercury that exert toxicity on soil quality. Bioavailability of mercury in terms of water solubility was lower in acidic soil with higher organic carbon. Dehydrogenase enzyme activity and nitrification rate were chosen as indicators to assess soil quality. Inorganic mercury significantly inhibited (p < 0.001) microbial activities in the soils. The critical mercury contents (EC10) were found to be less than the available safe limits for inorganic mercury which demonstrated inadequacy of existing guideline values.