On the list of substances you really don’t want to mess with, elemental mercury is pretty high up. Inhalation or absorption of the volatile metal can quickly lead to irreversible poisoning. Unfortunately, Hg is also a hallmark of industrial society.....Mercury-resistant bacteria carry a collection of Hg-detoxifying genes, including the enzyme mercuric reductase, which converts Hg2+ back into gaseous H0. How abundant are these guys, and how did mercury resistance evolve? These questions are important for understanding the natural detoxification of mercury-contaminated environments.
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