Office of Research and Development Publications

Understanding Arsenic Dynamics in Agronomic Systems to Predict and Prevent Uptake by Crop Plants

Citation:

Punshon, T., B. Jackson, A. Meharg, T. Warczak, K. Scheckel, AND M. Guerinot. Understanding Arsenic Dynamics in Agronomic Systems to Predict and Prevent Uptake by Crop Plants. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 581-582:209-220, (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.111

Impact/Purpose:

Consumption of staple foods such as rice, beverages such as apple juice, or vegetables grown in historically arsenic-contaminated soils is now recognized as a tangible route of arsenic exposure that, in many cases, is more significant than exposure from drinking water. Understanding the sources of arsenic to crop plants and the factors that influence them is key to reducing exposure now and preventing exposure in future. In addition to the abundant natural sources of arsenic, there are a large number of industrial and agricultural sources of arsenic to the soil; from mining wastes, coal fly ash, glass manufacturing, pesticide application, wastewater sludge, pharmaceutical waste, livestock dips, smelting activities to phosphate fertilizers. Plant uptake of arsenic was previously assumed to be too low to merit setting limits for arsenic in food crops, but no safe level of arsenic has been found. This review is on arsenic in agronomic systems, and covers processes that influence the entry of arsenic into the human food supply. The scope is from sources of arsenic (natural and anthropogenic) in soils, biogeochemical and rhizosphere processes that control arsenic speciation and availability, through to mechanisms of uptake by crop plants and potential mitigation strategies. This review makes a case for taking steps to prevent or limit crop uptake of arsenic, wherever possible, and to work toward a long-term solution to the presence of arsenic in agronomic systems. This information is of interest to Regional and Program Office decision makers, States, and local affected communities.

Description:

This review is on arsenic in agronomic systems, and covers processes that influence the entry of arsenic into the human food supply. The scope is from sources of arsenic (natural and anthropogenic) in soils, biogeochemical and rhizosphere processes that control arsenic speciation and availability, through to mechanisms of uptake by crop plants and potential mitigation strategies. This review makes a case for taking steps to prevent or limit crop uptake of arsenic, wherever possible, and to work toward a long-term solution to the presence of arsenic in agronomic systems. The past two decades have seen important advances in our understanding of how biogeochemical and physiological processes influence human exposure to soil arsenic, and thus must now prompt an informed reconsideration and unification of regulations to protect the quality of agricultural and residential soils.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT ( JOURNAL/ PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 03/01/2017
Record Last Revised: 06/02/2020
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335439