The application of mass spectrometry in environmental chemistry: investigating biological cycling of arsenic, mercury and glycine betaine in aquatic ecosystems

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Elemental cycling is a complex process that occurs abiotically and biotically. While abiotic cycling is well defined, biological cycling is more complex as it involves different microbes, animals and enzymes that govern its form and fate. In my project, I investigated the biological cycling of two of the most toxic elements known, arsenic and mercury. I examine their bioavailability, bioaccumulation and biomagnification in freshwater aquatic systems using Yellowstone Lake as a study model. In addtion, the sources and sinks of glycine betaine, an important aquatic metabolite that contributes to the carbon and nitrogen cycle, is investigated in Yellowstone Lake and three rivers located around the state of Montana. This research presented in this dissertation offers new insight on how arsenic and mercury cycle in aquatic systems and introduces a new hypothesis of the possible source of glycine betaine in freshwater ecosystem. Additionally, this project highlights a new and promising methodology to detect and quatify methylated amines in water samples.




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