Project

Back to overview

Bioavailability of Mercury Species to Phytoplankton (BioMer)

English title Bioavailability of Mercury Species to Phytoplankton (BioMer)
Applicant Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera
Number 166089
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut F.-A. Forel Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.10.2016 - 30.09.2019
Approved amount 230'112.00
Show all

Keywords (9)

Bioaccumulation; Mercury; Methylmercury; Phytoplankton; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Dissolved organic matter; Ecotoxicology; Environmental Chemistry; Water quality

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Le mercure et ses composés sont des toxines d'importance globale. Bien que les concentrations de mercure dans l'eau soient très faibles, le mercure et ses composés s’accumulent fortement dans les organismes aquatiques. De plus, les formes organiques se bioamplifient dans la chaîne alimentaire, représentant un risque majeur pour l’environnement et pour l'homme, par le biais de la consommation de poisson. Cependant, le contenu du mercure dans les organismes au sommet de la chaîne alimentaire, comme dans le cas des poissons, semble être déterminé par la quantité de mercure biodisponible à la base de la chaîne alimentaire. Par conséquent, l'amélioration des connaissances sur les différents processus déterminant l’accumulation de mercure dans le phytoplancton, objet du présent projet, est essentielle pour la compréhension de l’incorporation de Hg dans la chaîne alimentaire aquatique, ainsi que ses implications possibles pour la santé humaine et l’environnement.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Le principal objectif est de mieux comprendre les processus qui gèrent l’accumulation du mercure et ses composés par le phytoplancton et d'élucider l’influence des paramètres physicochimiques du milieu, ainsi que la matière organique dissoute sur leur bioaccumulation. Plus précisément, nous souhaitons: (i) comprendre la dynamique de la bioaccumulation du Hg dans une très large gamme de concentrations, représentatives en milieu naturel et pollué, (ii) caractériser les voies principales de prise en charge du mercure et ses composés; (iii) déterminer l’effet de ces composés sur le phytoplancton ; (iv)  étudier l'effet de la matière organique dissoute sur la dynamique de leur bioaccumulation et toxicité; (v) développer un modèle quantitatif permettant de prédire l’accumulation de mercure dans le phytoplancton dans les eaux douces selon les variations de concentrations de mercure et les conditions du milieu.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Les résultats du présent projet permettront d'améliorer de manière significative la compréhension de la prise en charge du mercure par le phytoplancton, qui représente un point d’entrée important du mercure dans la chaîne alimentaire. De plus, le mercure et ses composés sont répertoriés dans la liste des composés dangereux, donc ces informations inédites seront essentielles pour l’établissement de normes améliorées pour le mercure dans les eaux. Elles contribueront au développement de nouveaux outils de surveillance, le suivi de l’efficience des mesures de la convention de Minamata et permettront en outre d’apporter conseil aux entités politiques afin de protéger la population contre les risques environnementaux liés au mercure.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.08.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Laboratoire de Chimie Analytique Bio-Inorganique et Environnement/University of Pau and Pays d’Adour France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP 2019) Poster Refractory components of dissolved organic matter from Lake Onega (Russia) protect phytoplankton from Hg 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
SETAC North America 39th Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Understanding the role of DOM on mercury bioavailability – a prerequisite for the narrowing the gap in lab-to-field extrapolation 04.11.2018 Sacramento, United States of America Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
SETAC North America 34th Annual meeting Talk given at a conference Mercury species bioavailability and effects on green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii 04.11.2018 Sacramento, United States of America Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
University of California Santa Cruz Individual talk Interactions of mercury compounds with aquatic primary producers: from gene to community 02.11.2018 Santa Cruz, United States of America Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
University of California Santa Barbara Individual talk Mercury compounds bioavailability to phytoplankton 18.10.2018 Santa Barbara, United States of America Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
Hohay University Individual talk Interactions of mercury compounds with aquatic primary producers 22.08.2018 Nanjing, China Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
University of Bourgogne Franche Compte Individual talk Bioavailability of mercury compounds to aquatic primary producers 04.07.2018 Besançon, France Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
University of Pau Individual talk Uptake and effects of mercury compounds to phytoplankton : from genes to cells 25.05.2018 Pau, France Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting Poster Dissolved organic matter as a modifier of Hg bioavailability to phytoplankton 13.05.2018 Rome, Italy Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
United Nations Institute for Training and Research Individual talk Biogeochemistry and ecotoxicology of mercury 02.02.2018 Geneva, Switzerland Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;
15th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Inorganic mercury adsorption and internalization kinetics and the role of dissolved organic matter 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera; Chonova Teofana;
Lecture at Center ecotox, Duebendorf Individual talk Mercury impacts to aquatic primary producers: from the cell to the community 23.03.2017 eawag, Duebendorf, Switzerland Slaveykova-Startcheva Vera;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Science, surveillance and Management Efforts to Support Successful Implementaion of the Minamata Convention on Mercury 17.11.2018 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Du nouveau sur l'impact du mercure sur l'environnement et l'humain CQFD Western Switzerland 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
175721 Elucidating the role of PHYToplankton in Aquatic Mercury (Hg) Biotic and Abiotic transformations (PHYTAMBA) 01.03.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)
142228 Mercury threat in industrially impacted surface water bodies in Romania - integrated approach (MERCURO) 01.01.2013 Romanian-Swiss Research Programme (RSRP)
183292 New environmental flow field-flow fractionation multi-detection platform for expanding the frontiers in trace element biogeochemistry and ecotoxicology 01.07.2019 R'EQUIP
157173 Assessing metal bioavailability through transcriptome response in aquatic primary producers (continuation) 01.03.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
184355 Green Breath Box: Insights into biogeochemical cycles, environment, and sustainability 01.10.2019 Agora

Abstract

Mercury is a toxic contaminant of global importance. Hg concentrations in the water column are very low, however both inorganic mercury (IHg) and methylmercury (MeHg) significantly concentrate in aquatic biota. In addition, a MeHg strongly biomagnifies in the food chain, thus representing an important threat for ecosystems and humans e.g. through fish consumption. However, Hg contents in biota at the top of the food chain, such as fish, seems to be determined by the amount of bioavailable mercury at the base of the food chain. In such as context the present project aims to improve the basic knowledge on different processes governing Hg species bioavailability to phytoplankton and to elucidate the modifying role of water quality variables, with emphasis on dissolved organic matter (DOM). The IHg and MeHg bioavailability dynamics will be characterized by measurement of the cellular mercury contents, uptake fluxes, and cellular responses (e.g. photosynthesis and expression level of the selected genes as candidates for early biomarkers) in a large mercury concentration range. The influence of DOM of different origin such as fulvic and humic-like substances, as well as extracellular polymeric substances on the mercury bioavailability and cellular response will be studied. In parallel IHg and MeHg speciation in the exposure medium will be modeled. As an ubiquitous bioaccumulative and toxic substance, Hg is listed in the priority hazardous substances of the European Union setting Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). Therefore, further ecologically meaningful investigation of Hg bioavailability and understanding the basic processes determining the incorporation of Hg at the base of the food chain seems critical for elaboration of the scientifically sound EQC for mercury. The present research will also contribute to the development of early warning biomarkers in support to biomonitoring efforts of mercury monitoring and support the implementation of the Minamata Convention.
-