Mercury is a toxin that spreads around the globe mainly through the burning of coal, industrial use and through natural processes such as volcanic eruptions.
Recent research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) identified two genes in bacteria that facilitate the transformation of inorganic mercury into organic mercury. This process involves methylation.
This illustration was commissioned by Liyuan Liang, leader of the Department of Energy-funded mercury research program at ORNL.
Image #2 is an electron micrograph of the actual methyl-binding bacteria that I used as a reference for my illustration.