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publications > paper > enhanced dissolution of cinnabar (mercuric sulfide) by dissolved organic matter isolated from the florida everglades

Enhanced Dissolution of Cinnabar (Mercuric Sulfide) by Dissolved Organic Matter Isolated from the Florida Everglades

M. Ravichandran, G.R. Aiken, J.N. Ryan, and M.M. Reddy
Published in: Environmental Science & Technology, 1998, v. 32, p. 33305-3311

Note: Entire paper is available from the Environmental Science & Technology website (journal membership required)


Organic matter isolated from the Florida Everglades caused a dramatic increase in mercury release (up to 35 µM total dissolved mercury) from cinnabar (HgS), a solid with limited solubility. Hydrophobic (a mixture of both humic and fulvic) acids dissolved more mercury than hydrophilic acids and other nonacid fractions of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Cinnabar dissolution by isolated organic matter and natural water samples was inhibited by cations such as Ca2+. Dissolution was independent of oxygen content in experimental solutions. Dissolution experiments conducted in DI water (pH = 6.0) had no detectable (<2.5 nM) dissolved mercury. The presence of various inorganic (chloride, sulfate, or sulfide) and organic ligands (salicylic acid, acetic acid, EDTA, or cysteine) did not enhance the dissolution of mercury from the mineral. Aromatic carbon content in the isolates (determined by 13C NMR) correlated positively with enhanced cinnabar dissolution. zeta symbol-potential measurements indicated sorption of negatively charged organic matter to the negatively charged cinnabar (pHpzc = 4.0) at pH 6.0. Possible mechanisms of dissolution include surface complexation of mercury and oxidation of surface sulfur species by the organic matter.

Related information:

SOFIA Project: Interactions of Mercury with Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Florida Everglades

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