Isotopic fractionation during the uptake and elimination of inorganic mercury by a marine fish

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

17 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Article number8035
Pages (from-to)202-208
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Pollution
Online published14 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


This study investigated the mass dependent (MDF) and independent fractionation (MIF) of stable mercury isotopes in fish during the uptake and elimination of inorganic species. Mercury accumulation during the exposure led to re-equilibration of organ isotopic compositions with the external sources, and elimination terminated the equilibrating with isotope ratios moving back to the original values. Generally, the isotopic behaviors corresponded to the changes of Hg accumulation in the muscle and liver, causing by the internal transportation, organ redistribution, and mixing of different sources. A small degree of MDF caused by biotransformation of Hg in the liver was documented during the elimination, whereas MIF was not observed. The absence of MIF during geochemical and metabolic processes suggested that mercury isotopes can be used as source tracers. Additionally, fish liver is a more responsive organ than muscle to track Hg source when it is mainly composed of inorganic species.

Research Area(s)

  • Inorganic mercury, Internal distribution, Liver, Mass dependent fraction, Stable mercury isotopes