Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mercury on the horizon

21.12.2004


University of Nevada study finds plants assimilate mercury from air

Mercury gets around. A naturally occurring contaminant, mercury is found in water and soil but scientists are not exactly sure how mercury makes its way through the environment. Concerns over increasing levels of mercury contamination have sparked fish consumption advisories in certain areas.

Knowing how mercury ends up in these locations, however, is an area of concern for environmental scientists. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno recently discovered that plants play a significant role in how mercury travels.



“Based on previous studies, what we originally thought was that mercury in soil would be absorbed through a tree’s roots, then released through the tree’s leaves into the air,” said Jody Ericksen, a Nevada graduate student who studied the contaminant for her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Health. “We were wrong. What happened is that the plants absorbed the mercury from the air.”

According to Nevada researchers, once a tree’s leaves contain mercury, those leaves eventually fall off, decay and mercury goes back into the soil, air and, ultimately, water.

According to Mae Gustin, associate professor in the university’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, the results of the study could have global implications.

Mercury from coal-fired power plants, or from areas such as Nevada that have high levels of naturally occurring mercury, can be in the air for six to 12 months and can cross continents.

“Researchers who model how mercury travels through the environment tell us that even if the United States turned off all of its coal-fired power plants, we would still have mercury being deposited here because of China’s mercury emissions,” Gustin said. “For mercury controls to make a difference there has to be a global effort.”

The researchers’ study was published in a recent issue of Environmental Science & Technology, one of the most prestigious environmental science journals.

The study was funded with a grant from the EPA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Collaborators on the project included: Dave Schorran and James Coleman of the Desert Research Institute; Dale Johnson, a professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Nevada, Reno; and Steven Lindberg of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Bob Conrad | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unr.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>