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Biogeochemistry

Better living through mercury

Mercury is a toxic element with no known biological function. Laboratory studies demonstrate that mercury can be beneficial to microbial growth by acting as an electron acceptor during photosynthesis.

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Figure 1: Scanning electron microscope image of purple non-sulphur bacteria.

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Correspondence to Jeffra K. Schaefer.

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Schaefer, J. Better living through mercury. Nature Geosci 9, 94–95 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2638

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