Geochemistry signatures of mercury in soils of the Amazon rainforest biome

Francielle R.D. Lima, Polyana Pereira, Ediu C. Silva Junior, Isabela C.F. Vasques, Jakeline R. Oliveira, Cláudia C. Windmöller, Alberto V. Inda, David C. Weindorf, Nilton Curi, Bruno T. Ribeiro, Luiz R.G. Guilherme, João José Marques

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Mercury (Hg) toxicity in soils depends on Hg species and other physical and chemical attributes, as selenium (Se) hotspots in soils, particularly relevant in Amazonian soils. The study of Hg species and their relations in representative locations of the Amazon rainforest biome is critical for assessing the potential risks of Hg in this environment. This work aimed to determine the concentration of total Hg and its species (Hg0, Hg22+ and Hg2+), and to correlate Hgtotal concentration with total elemental composition, magnetic susceptibility, and physicochemical attributes of Amazon soils. Nine sites in the Amazon rainforest biome, Brazil, were selected and analyzed for their chemical, physical, and mineralogical attributes. The clay fraction of the studied Amazon soils is dominated by kaolinite, goethite, hematite, gibbsite, and quartz. Mica was also found in soils from the States of Acre and Amazonas. Hgtotal ranged from 21.5 to 208 μg kg−1 (median = 104 μg kg−1), and the concentrations did not exceed the threshold value established for Brazilian soils (500 μg kg−1). The Hg2+ was notably the predominant species. Its occurrence and concentration were correlated with the landscape position and soil attributes. Hgtotal was moderately and positively correlated with TiO2, clay, and Se. The findings showed that geographic location, geological formation, and pedological differences influence the heterogeneity and distribution of Hgtotal in the studied soil classes. Thus, a detailed characterization and knowledgment of the soil classes is very important to clarify the complex behavior of this metal in the Amazon rainforest biome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114147
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Direct mercury analyzer
  • Heavy metals
  • Hg speciation
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Portable X-ray fluorescence


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