Arsenic uptake and accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) irrigated with contaminated water

Md Joinal Abedin, J. Cotter-Howells, Andy A. Meharg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term use of arsenic contaminated groundwater to irrigate crops, especially paddy rice (Oryza sativa L.) has resulted in elevated soil arsenic levels in Bangladesh. There is, therefore, concern regarding accumulation of arsenic in rice grown on these soils. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the impact of arsenic-contaminated irrigation water on the growth and uptake of arsenic into rice grain, husk, straw and root. There were altogether 10 treatments which were a combination of five arsenate irrigation water concentrations (0-8 mg As l-1) and two soil phosphate amendments. Use of arsenate containing irrigation water reduced plant height, decreased rice yield and affected development of root growth. Arsenic concentrations in all plant parts increased with increasing arsenate concentration in irrigation water. However, arsenic concentration in rice grain did not exceed the maximum permissible limit of 1.0 mg As kg-1. Arsenic accumulation in rice straw at very high levels indicates that feeding cattle with such contaminated straw could be a direct threat for their health and also, indirectly, to human health via presumably contaminated bovine meat and milk. Phosphate application neither showed any significant difference in plant growth and development, nor in As concentrations in plant parts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Arsenic concentrations
  • Irrigation water
  • Rice
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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