A few studies have reported the occurrence of monoethylmercury (CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+)) in the natural environment, but further verification is needed due to the lack of direct evidence and/or uncertainty in analytical procedures. Various analytical techniques were employed to verify the occurrence of CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) in soil of the Florida Everglades. The identity of CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) in Everglades soil was clarified, for the first time, by GC/MS. The employment of the recently developed aqueous phenylation-purge-and-trap-GC coupled with ICPMS confirmed that the detected CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) was not a misidentification of CH(3)SHg(+). Stable isotope-tracer experiments further indicated that the detected CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) indeed originated from Everglades soil and was not an analytical artifact. All these evidence clearly confirmed the occurrence of CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) in Everglades soil, presumably as a consequence of ethylation occurring in this wetland. The prevalence of CH(3)CH(2)Hg(+) in Everglades soil suggests that ethylation could play an important role in the biogeochemical cycling of Hg.
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