Mercury entotoxicology: what you need tot know

The Mercury entomotoxicology study, published in the Chemosphere, highlights a very dangerous side effect of this element

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Mercury entotoxicology: what you need tot know

Mercury is highly toxic. The introduction into the body can occur either by ingestion, by inhalation of the vapors, or by simple contact. As far as elemental mercury is concerned, the greatest risk of acute intoxication is linked to the vapors, as skin absorption is negligible, as is intestinal absorption.

Different speech instead for mercury salts, more easily absorbed through the food chain. However, the most dangerous form for human health is the organic one present in fish and other foods, which are absorbed and accumulated more efficiently by the tissues.

The Mercury entomotoxicology study, published in the Chemosphere, highlights a very dangerous side effect of this element. The researchers told: "Mercury is an industrial pollutant of global concern. Currently entomofauna is disappearing and chemical pollution is one cause, however, it is unknown whether mercury is an additional threat.

Therefore, it is necessary to know the entomotoxicology of mercury. The aim of the present work was to perform a comprehensive literature review on the entomotoxicology of mercury.The toxicokinetics and toxicity of mercury in insects, the participation of insects in the mercury cycle and the fact that this element is a threat to entomofauna are characterized.Insects can be exposed to mercury through ingestion, tracheal respiration, and gill respiration.

Organic forms of mercury are better absorbed, bioaccumulated and distributed than inorganic forms.In addition, insects can biotransform mercury, for example, by methylating it.Metal elimination occurs through feces, eggs and exuvia Toxicity molecular mechanisms include oxidative stress, enzymatic disruptions, alterations in the metabolism of neurotransmitters and proteins, genotoxicity, cell death and unbalances in the energetic state.

Moreover, mercury affects lipid, germ, and gut cells, causes deformations, disturbs development, reproduction, behavior, and locomotion, besides to alters insect populations and communities. In terrestrial ecosystems, entomofauna participate in the mercury cycle by bioaccumulating mercury from soil and air, predating, being predated and decomposing organic matter.

In aquatic ecosystems insects participate by accumulating mercury from water and sediment, predating, being predated and transporting it to terrestrial ecosystems when they emerge as winged adults. There are still information gaps that need to be addressed."