Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 71–79 | Cite as

Influence of chloride ions on the reduction of mercury species in the presence of dissolved organic matter

  • Seyong Lee
  • Younghee Roh
  • Kyoung-Woong KimEmail author


Mercuric species, Hg(II), interacts strongly with dissolved organic matter (DOM) through the oxidation, reduction, and complexation that affect the fate, bioavailability, and cycling of mercury, Hg, in aquatic environments. Despite its importance, the reactions between Hg(II) and DOM have rarely been studied in the presence of different concentrations of chloride ions (Cl) under anoxic conditions. Here, we report that the extent of Hg(II) reduction in the presence of the reduced DOM decreases with increasing Cl concentrations. The rate constants of Hg(II) reduction ranged from 0.14 to 1.73 h−1 in the presence of Cl and were lower than the rate constant (2.41 h−1) in the absence of Cl. Using a thermodynamic model, we showed that stable Hg(II)–chloride complexes were formed in the presence of Cl. We further examined that H(0) was oxidized to Hg(II) in the presence of the reduced DOM and Cl under anoxic conditions, indicating that Hg(II) reduction is inhibited by the Hg(0) oxidation. Therefore, the Hg(II) reduction by the reduced DOM can be offset due to the Hg(II)–chloride complexation and Hg(0) oxidation in chloride-rich environments. These processes can significantly influence the speciation of Hg and have an important implication for the behavior of Hg under environmentally relevant concentrations.


Mercury Chloride ion Dissolved organic matter (DOM) Oxidation–reduction reaction Complexes 



This work was supported by GIST Research Institute (GRI) grant funded by the GIST in 2018.

Supplementary material

10653_2018_121_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Assessment GroupKorea Environment Institute (KEI)SejongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Geologic Environment DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM)DaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Institute for Korean Regional StudiesSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Faculty of Environmental StudiesUniversiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)SerdangMalaysia
  5. 5.School of Earth Sciences and Environmental EngineeringGwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)GwangjuRepublic of Korea

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