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    Atmospheric elemental mercury (Hg(0)) enters plant stomata, becomes oxidized, and is then transferred to annual growth rings providing an archive of air Hg(0) concentrations. To better understand the processes of Hg accumulation and translocation, the foliage of quaking aspen and Austrian pine were exposed to Hg(0), and methylmercury (MeHg) or Me198Hg via roots, in controlled exposures during the summer. Isotopic measurements demonstrated, in a laboratory setting, that the natural mass-dependent fractionation observed was the same as that measured in field studies, with the lighter isotopes being preferentially taken up by the leaves. Hg was measured in plant tissues across seasons. Aspen trees moved Hg into new growth immediately after exposure, resorbed Hg in the fall, and then distributed Hg to new growth tissues in the spring. Austrian pine did not reallocate Hg. Mercury measured in aspen leaf fractions of trees exposed to Hg(0) demonstrated that 85 % of Hg was in the cell wall. It was also found that redox-active molecules, such as H2O2, could potentiate the release of cell wall-bound Hg from aspen leaves, providing a potential mechanism for remobilization. Regardless of the mechanism, the ability of aspen to reallocate Hg to new tissues indicates that Hg distribution in tree rings from aspen do not provide a reliable record of yearly changes in atmospheric Hg(0). Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Mae Sexauer Gustin, Sarrah M Dunham-Cheatham, Jeffrey F Harper, Won-Gyu Choi, Joel D Blum, Marcus W Johnson. Investigation of the biochemical controls on mercury uptake and mobility in trees. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Aug 18;851(Pt 1):158101

    PMID: 35987220

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