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Effect of Organic Matter on Determination of Reactive Mercury in Contaminated Waters

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Dissolved reactive mercury was determined in water samples from Ria da Aveiro, a coastal lagoon contaminated by mercury. Concentrations increased with acid dilution to a maximum of 193% in samples containing organic matter with high aromaticity, as inferred from absorbances at 250, 280 and 365 nm. Laboratory experiments with potassium hydrogenoftalate and humic acids solutions proved the influence of aromaticity in complexing mercury, how acid dilution protonates the aromatic Hg-complexes and consequent release of labile forms of mercury to solution. On the basis of these results it is proposed that natural waters from mercury contaminated ecosystems should be analysed without dilutions, otherwise additional studies should be performed to access the protonation of mercury organic complexes.
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Keywords: Cold vapour atomic fluorescence spectrometry; Flow injection; Natural waters; Organic matter; Reactive mercury

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Agro-Indústrias, Escola Superior Agrária, Instituto Politécnico de Brangança, 5300 Bragança, Portugal 2: Departamento de Química Analítica y Alimentaria, Universidad de Vigo, Facultad de Ciencias de Ourense, 32004 Ourense, Spain 3: Departamento de Química, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal 4: Instituto de Investigação das Pescas e do Mar (IPIMAR), Av. Brasília, 1400 Lisboa, Portugal

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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