Currently, we are investigating the availability of mercury species in
the aquatic environment. Using stable isotopes of mercury we are able
to measure the methylation of mercury(II) and the demethylation of
monomethylmercury simultaneously in a variety of aquatic samples.
Analysis of mercury species is accomplished after gas chromatographic
separation by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (GC/ICP-MS).
Our group is also a participant of METALLICUS (Mercury experiment To
Assess Lake Loading In Canada and the United States). Here we are using
stable isotopes of mercury in the field to evaluate the contribution of
atmospherically deposited mercury to the overall levels of
methylmercury observed in fish. This experiment is carried out at the
ELA (Experimental Lakes Area) in Ontario. On a related subject we are
investigating the accuracy of various methods used for
monomethylmercury analysis. Recent collaborative work with Dr. R.-D.
Wilken from the ESWE Institute , Germany, has demonstrated that
especially sediments are prone to artifactual formation of
monomethylmercury during sample preparation. The apparent
measured concentration can be corrected for this artifactual
formation applying species-specific isotope addition (SSIA). Another
project studies the interaction of metals with dissolved organic
material (DOC). Of special interest to us is DOC as a ligand
controlling the availability of metals in aquatic systems. The main
task at the moment is to develop a more holistic method to characterize
DOC using LC-MS techniques. Finally, we are in the process of developing a mass balance model describing the fate of heavy metals in contaminated lakes.
As a member of Trent University¹s Institute of Mass spectrometry
(TUIMS) we have access to a variety of state of the art analytical
Collision cell ICP-MS
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