Mercury Inhibits Soil Enzyme Activity in a Lower Concentration than the Guideline Value

  • Khandaker Rayhan Mahbub
  • Kannan Krishnan
  • Mallavarapu Megharaj
  • Ravi Naidu


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.


Mercury Dehydrogenase Nitrification Soil microbial quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khandaker Rayhan Mahbub
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kannan Krishnan
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mallavarapu Megharaj
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ravi Naidu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and RemediationUniversity of South AustraliaMawson Lakes, AdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC-CARE)Mawson Lakes, AdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Global Centre for Environmental Remediation, Faculty of Science and Information TechnologyThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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