Effect of Biochar and Activated Carbon Amendments on Gaseous Mercury Emissions of Soil and Mercury Methylation Rates in Sediment

Sessums, Ryan (2015) Effect of Biochar and Activated Carbon Amendments on Gaseous Mercury Emissions of Soil and Mercury Methylation Rates in Sediment. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of James Cizdziel from Chemistry & Biochemistry, The University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

Mercury is a pervasive global contaminant with a complex biogeochemical cycle. In this biogeochemical cycle, methylmercury (MeHg+) tends to biomagnify and concentrate in fish and seafood consumed by humans. This study examines the effect of sorbent amendments on both the mercury emission from soils and the methylation rates of mercury in sediments, both of which are believed to be major contributors to the global cycle. Biochar and activated carbon were used to treat soils and sediments to explore their effects. It was found that biochar and activated carbon reduced gaseous mercury emission by 25% and 49%, respectively. Methylation rates in the treated sediment effectively decreased by 89% using biochar and by 83% using activated carbon, however this does not take into account potential adsorption of MeHg+ on the amendments or the possibility of the amendments killing the microbes responsible for methylation; therefore, methylation rates could not be said to have unequivocally decreased and may be “best-case scenario” rates. All results from treated sediments were statistically different from the untreated sediment (p-value < 0.001).

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Sessums, Ryan
Student's Degree Program(s): B.S. in Chemistry
Thesis Advisor: James Cizdziel
Thesis Advisor's Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Depositing User: Ryan Sessums
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 16:53
Last Modified: 07 May 2015 16:53
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/386

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