Determination of Mercury Complexation in Coastal and Estuarine Waters Using Competitive Ligand Exchange Method
Date1 Sep. 200
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While many studies have examined Hg(II) binding ligand in natural dissolved organic matter, determined ligand concentrations far exceed natural Hg(II) concentrations. This ligand class may not influence natural Hg(II) complexation, given the reverse relation between ligand concentration and metal-ligand binding strength. This study used a new competing ligand, thiosalicylic acid, in a competitive ligand exchange method in which water-toluene extraction was used to determine extremely strong Hg(II) binding sites in estuarine and coastal waters (dissolved [Hg] = 0.5-8 pM). Thiosalicylic acid competition lowered the detection limit of Hg(II) complexing ligand by 2 orders of magnitude from values found by previous studies; the determined Hg(II) complexing ligand ranged from 13 to 103 pM. The logarithmic conditional stability constants between Hg(II) and Hg(II) complexing ligand (K sub(cond') = [HgL]/([Hg super(2+)][L']), [L'] = total [L] - [HgL]) ranged from 26.5 to 29.0. Applying the same method for chloride competition detected another class of ligand that is present from 0.5 to 9.6 nM with log conditional stability constants ranging from 23.1 to 24.4. A linear relationship was observed between the log conditional stability constant and log Hg(II) complexing ligand concentration, supporting the hypothesis that Hg(II) binding ligand should be characterized as a series or continuum of binding sites on natural dissolved organic matter. Calculating Hg(II) complexation using the conditional stability constants and ligand concentrations determined in this study indicates that >99% of the dissolved mercury is complexed by natural ligand associated with dissolved organic matter in estuarine and coastal waters of Galveston Bay, Texas.