Automated Simultaneous Analysis of Monomethyl and Mercuric Hg in Biotic Samples by Hg-Thiourea Complex Liquid Chromatography Following Acidic Thiourea Leaching

Mercury is well-known for its bioaccumulative nature, and this danger to the human food supply has resulted in numerous studies of bioaccumulation in aquatic food chains1–5 and recently even terrestrial food chains6. The focus of such studies has appropriately been the distinctly bioaccumulative form of mercury, monomethylmercury (CH3Hg+); however, inorganic mercury (HgII) is also very toxic7 and not without potential danger to foodwebs. Though acute toxicity from HgII to wildlife would only likely occur in areas of high mercury loads, the toxicity of HgII is well established in toxicology literature and stems from (1) itsplace as the “softest” of the transition metals8 and consequent high affinity for biological sulfhydryl groups 9 and (2) its ability to promote oxidative tissue damage7.

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