Growing rice aerobically markedly decreases arsenic accumulation

Arsenic (As) exposure from consumption of rice can be substantial, particularly for the population on a subsistence rice diet in South Asia. Paddy rice has a much enhanced As accumulation compared with other cereal crops, and practical measures are urgently needed to decrease As transfer from soil to grain. The researchers investigated the dynamics of As speciation in the soil solution under both flooded and aerobic conditions and compared As accumulation in rice shoot and grain in a greenhouse experiment. Flooding of soil led to a rapid mobilization of As, mainly as arsenite, in the soil solution. Arsenic concentrations in the soil solution were 7-16 and 4-13 times higher under the flooded than under the aerobic conditions in the control without As addition and in the +As treatments (10 mg As kg-1 as arsenite or arsenate), respectively.