THE IMPORTANCE OF AQUATIC MACROPHYTES IN MERCURY CYCLE IN TAPAJOS RIVER (PA).
Keywords:Methylmercury production, Amazon deforestation, flood cycle, clear waters, Mercury biogeochemical cycle.
Studies about the mercury (Hg) cycle in the Amazon region indicate that deforestation is a main source of Hg to aquatic systems. The atmospheric Hg deposits in soil have a great affinity with Iron (Fe) and Aluminum (Al) oxyhidroxides that are carried to waters by runoff during rainy season. Constituting the fine particulate matter (FPM), Hg is accumulated in aquatic macrophytes roots, a main site of methylmercury (MeHg) production, permitting biomagnification of the neurotoxic MeHg. During wet season, the organic material, humic and fulvic acids and Hg associated to clayed sediments from inundated forest seem to intensify biotic and abiotic Hg methylation. The reducing and acidic conditions may facilitate the bioavailability of the reactive Hg and a higher transference of the produced MeHg is expected as a function of microbial activity and diversity. During the dry season, Hg may return to the atmospheric and terrestrial systems as a consequence of macrophyte decomposition.