March 23, 2018

« All News

Todd Olsen Article on Kinetics of Methylmercury Production Published in Environmental Science & Technology

Todd Olsen (California) authored an article entitled "Kinetics of Methylmercury Production Revisited" that was published in Environmental Science & Technology in Volume 52 (4) on pages 2063–2070, on January 27, 2018.

The article is based on Todd 's research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His co-authors are Scott. C. Brooks, Katherine A. Muller and Scott L. Painter.

Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) journal is an authoritative source of information for professionals in a wide range of environmental disciplines. The journal combines magazine and research sections and is published both in print and online.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has more than 150,000 members in more than 140 countries, they are the premier home of chemistry professionals. Founded in 1876 and chartered by the U.S. Congress, they are the world 's largest scientific society. Their mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. Their vision is to improve people 's lives through the transforming power of chemistry.


Laboratory measurements of the biologically mediated methylation of mercury (Hg) to the neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg) often exhibit kinetics that are inconsistent with first-order kinetic models. Using time-resolved measurements of filter passing Hg and MMHg during methylation/demethylation assays, a multisite kinetic sorption model, and reanalyses of previous assays, we show that competing kinetic sorption reactions can lead to time-varying availability and apparent non-first-order kinetics in Hg methylation and MMHg demethylation. The new model employing a multisite kinetic sorption model for Hg and MMHg can describe the range of behaviors for time-resolved methylation/demethylation data reported in the literature including those that exhibit non-first-order kinetics. Additionally, we show that neglecting competing sorption processes can confound analyses of methylation/demethylation assays, resulting in rate constant estimates that are systematically biased low. Simulations of MMHg production and transport in a hypothetical periphyton biofilm bed illustrate the implications of our new model and demonstrate that methylmercury production may be significantly different than projected by single-rate first-order models.

More Information

Learn more about the article:
Learn more about the journal:
For consultation regarding methylmercury production, contact Todd Olsen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Learn more about Todd at: