Methylation of Tin by Estuarine Microorganisms

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Science  19 Mar 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4539, pp. 1505-1507
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4539.1505


Mixed inoculums of microorganisms from Chesapeake Bay sediments transformed inorganic tin (SnCl4 · 5H2O) to organotin compounds. Dimethyltin and trimethyltin species were identified as products by gas chromatography—mass spectrometry. Methylated tin species were not observed in sterile controls or in poisoned controls. Thus, estuarine microorganisms have the potential for transforming tin to toxic organotins and for mobilizing tin in the ecosystem.