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Biogeochemistry: Mercury methylation on ice

Metagenomic analysis of Antarctic sea-ice and brine reveals the presence of hgcAB-like genes in the microaerophilic marine bacterium Nitrospina. These are similar to ones responsible for mercury methylation in anaerobic microorganisms and provide a plausible mechanism for mercury methylation in oxic marine environments.

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Figure 1: Proposed mechanism by Parks et al.2 for the role of the HgcAB proteins in methylation of inorganic Hg (HgII).


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Correspondence to Elsie M. Sunderland.

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Sunderland, E., Schartup, A. Biogeochemistry: Mercury methylation on ice. Nat Microbiol 1, 16165 (2016).

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