Metallomics : integrated biometal science

Association of arsenic with nutrient elements in rice plants.

PMID 23771154


Rice is the main cereal crop that feeds half of the world's population, and two thirds of the Chinese population. Arsenic (As) contamination in paddy soil and irrigation water elevates As concentration in rice grains, thus rice consumption is an important As intake route for populations in south and south-east Asia, where rice is the staple food. In addition to direct toxicity of As to human, As may limit the accumulation of micro-nutrients in rice grains, such as selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). These micro-nutrients are essential for humans, while mineral deficiencies, especially iron (Fe) and Zn, are prevalent in China. Therefore, it is important to understand the interactions between As and micro-nutrients in rice plants, which is the principal source of these nutrients for people on rice diets. In addition, during the processes of As uptake, translocation and transformation, the status of macro-nutrients (e.g. silicon (Si), phosphors (P), sulfur (S)) are important factors affecting As dynamics in soil-plant systems and As accumulation in rice grains. Recently, synchrotron-based spectroscopic techniques have been applied to map the distribution of As and nutrient elements in rice plants, which will aid to understand how As are accumulated, complexed and transported within plants. This paper reviews the interactions between As and macro-nutrients, as well as micro-nutrients in rice plants.