methylmercury

noun
meth·​yl·​mer·​cury | \ ˌme-thəl-ˈmər-kyə-rē How to pronounce methylmercury (audio) , -ˈmər-k(ə-)rē \

Definition of methylmercury

: any of various toxic compounds of mercury containing the complex CH3Hg− that often occur as pollutants which accumulate in living organisms (such as fish) especially in higher levels of a food chain

Examples of methylmercury in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change mercury into more dangerous methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish, in a process known as bioaccumulation. orlandosentinel.com, "Florida hunter makes Christmas cookies with python eggs," 28 Dec. 2020 Initial re-analysis of 717’s brain turned up a mix of carbon-free, inorganic mercury molecules and methylmercury. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Dead Cat’s Brain Revives Discussion of 1960s Mercury Poisoning Disaster in Japan," 26 Mar. 2020 The Minamata Bay disease characterizes long-term impairment of the central nervous system from methylmercury poisoning. New York Times, "An Unexpected Dinner Guest: Marine Plastic Pollution Hides a Neurological Toxin in Our Food," 7 May 2020 Bacteria in the bay converted the inorganic toxin into more noxious form of methylmercury. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Dead Cat’s Brain Revives Discussion of 1960s Mercury Poisoning Disaster in Japan," 26 Mar. 2020 Initial studies in the 1960s linked the toxicity to a molecule made of mercury and carbon called methylmercury. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Dead Cat’s Brain Revives Discussion of 1960s Mercury Poisoning Disaster in Japan," 26 Mar. 2020 In the woman’s case, health officials found the organic mercury compound methylmercury in her skin cream, which is more dangerous. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Woman had 524x the normal level of mercury in her blood from skin cream use," 20 Dec. 2019 Either way, methylmercury could be absorbed by things living in the water, including plants and shellfish. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Dead Cat’s Brain Revives Discussion of 1960s Mercury Poisoning Disaster in Japan," 26 Mar. 2020 But in 1968, the Japanese government blamed methylmercury, a common byproduct of mercury pollution. Joshua Sokoloski, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious chemical found in dead cat's brain reopens debate over mercury poisoning disaster," 24 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'methylmercury.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of methylmercury

1915, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of methylmercury was in 1915

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Methylmercury.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/methylmercury. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for methylmercury

methylmercury

noun
meth·​yl·​mer·​cury | \ ˌmeth-əl-ˈmər-kyə-rē, British also ˌmē-ˌthīl- \
plural methylmercuries

Medical Definition of methylmercury

: any of various toxic compounds of mercury containing the complex CH3Hg− that often occur as pollutants formed as industrial by-products or pesticide residues, tend to accumulate in living organisms (as fish) especially in higher levels of a food chain, are rapidly and easily absorbed through the human intestinal wall, and cause neurological dysfunction in humans — see minamata disease

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