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While watching Biblaridion's Alien Biosphere series, an interesting point came up: in Biblaridion's fictional world, atmospheric hydrogen sulfide is used as an energy source for chemosynthetic bacteria, drastically affecting the pathways that evolution takes on his world.

This got me thinking about chemosynthetic organisms using mercury sulfide. Something along the lines of this: sessile animals mining mercury sulfide, which appears in large veins in my planet, with microbes turning the elemental mercury back into mercury sulfide. The oceans are clouded black by photosynthetic bacteria using the mercury sulfide as a pigment.

Can organisms use the oxidation of mercury as an energy source to power chemosynthesis?

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    $\begingroup$ with mercury-reducing microbes turning the elemental mercury back into mercury sulfide. Hey, ho! "Reducing" means "reducing the oxidation number". Like in "getting the oxidation number as close to zero as possible". Like in "make it an element will all the expected electrons in their shells". Or "make that mercury a metal again". The path from mercury to mercury sulfide is oxidation - and it's energetically favorable (HgS has a lower energy than Hg and S separately). I'm bad at chemistry well, no surprise there, right? $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi May 11 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi Thank you for the clarification; the question has now been changed. $\endgroup$ – pg4919 May 11 at 15:16
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Only in theory

Getting plants to process mercury is an active area of research for cleaning up polluted industrial sites. Certain plants (some fungus, undersea vegetation, crops, etc.) can absorb mercury but they don't derive power from it. Nature has a nice overview of state of so-called "bio-remediation" and the problems it faces. Getting a plant to use mercury for chemosynthesis is even more challenging.

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