Arsenic accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.): Human exposure through food chain

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2008, 69 (2), pp. 317 - 324
Issue Date:
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Although human exposure to arsenic is thought to be caused mainly through arsenic-contaminated underground drinking water, the use of this water for irrigation enhances the possibility of arsenic uptake into crop plants. Rice is the staple food grain in Bangladesh. Arsenic content in straw, grain and husk of rice is especially important since paddy fields are extensively irrigated with underground water having high level of arsenic concentration. However, straw and husk are widely used as cattle feed. Arsenic concentration in rice grain was 0.5±0.02 mg kg-1 with the highest concentrations being in grains grown on soil treated with 40 mg As kg-1 soil. With the average rice consumption between 400 and 650 g/day by typical adults in the arsenic-affected areas of Bangladesh, the intake of arsenic through rice stood at 0.20-0.35 mg/day. With a daily consumption of 4 L drinking water, arsenic intake through drinking water stands at 0.2 mg/day. Moreover, when the rice plant was grown in 60 mg of As kg-1 soil, arsenic concentrations in rice straw were 20.6±0.52 at panicle initiation stage and 23.7±0.44 at maturity stage, whereas it was 1.6±0.20 mg kg-1 in husk. Cattle drink a considerable amount of water. So alike human beings, arsenic gets deposited into cattle body through rice straw and husk as well as from drinking water which in turn finds a route into the human body. Arsenic intake in human body from rice and cattle could be potentially important and it exists in addition to that from drinking water. Therefore, a hypothesis has been put forward elucidating the possible food chain pathways through which arsenic may enter into human body. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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