Microbial mediated arsenic biotransformation in wetlands

Si-Yu Zhang , Paul N. Williams, Jinming Luo, Yong-Guan Zhu

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35 Citations (Scopus)
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Arsenic (As) is a pervasive environmental toxin and carcinogenic metalloid. It ranks at the top of the US priority List of Hazardous Substances and causes worldwide human health problems. Wetlands, including natural and artificial ecosystems (i.e. paddy soils) are highly susceptible to As enrichment; acting not only as repositories for water but a host of other elemental/chemical moieties. While macro-scale processes (physical and geological) supply As to wetlands, it is the micro-scale biogeochemistry that regulates the fluxes of As and other trace elements from the semi-terrestrial to neighboring plant/aquatic/atmospheric compartments. Among these fine-scale events, microbial mediated As biotransformations contribute most to the element’s changing forms, acting as the ‘switch’ in defining a wetland as either a source or sink of As. Much of our understanding of these important microbial catalyzed reactions follows relatively recent scientific discoveries. Here we document some of these key advances, with focuses on the implications that wetlands and their microbial mediated transformation pathways have on the global As cycle, the chemistries of microbial mediated As oxidation, reduction and methylation, and future research priorities areas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date03 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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