THE VOLATILE LOSS OF MERCURY FROM SOILS AMENDED WITH METHYLMERCURY CHLORIDE

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Abstract

Five surface soils from southeastern Montana were studied to determine the influence of autoclaving, metabolic substrate additions, soil moisture status, and soil temperature on the volatilization of mercury from soils amended with methylmercury. Soils were amended to 1.0 part per million of mercury as 203Hg-CH3HgCl, and the mercury content was monitored for two months by gamma spectrometry. Mercury losses were stimulated by higher soil temperatures and repressed by glucose and nitrate additions and by excessive moisture or dryness. Highest losses were observed from the strongly alkaline soils.

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