Arsenic-induced straighthead: An impending threat to sustainable rice production in South and South-East Asia!

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Journal Article
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2012, 88 (3), pp. 311 - 315
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Straighthead is a physiological disorder of rice (Oryza sativa L.) that results in sterile florets with distorted lemma and palea, and the panicles or heads may not form at all in extreme cases. Heads remain upright at maturity, hence the name 'straighthead'. The diseased panicles may not emerge from the flag leaf sheath when the disease is severe. Straighthead disease in rice results in poorly developed panicles and significant yield loss. Although other soil physicochemical factors involved, arsenic contamination in soil has also been reported to be closely associated with straighthead of rice. Monosodium methanearsonate has been a popular herbicide in cotton production in the USA, which has shown to cause injuries in rice that are similar to straighthead. Since toxicity of inorganic arsenic (iAs) is higher than other forms of arsenic, it may produce a more severe straighthead disorder in rice. The use of iAs-rich groundwater for irrigation, and the increase of iAs concentrations in agricultural soil in arsenic epidemic South and South-East Asia may cause a high incidence of straighthead in rice, resulting in a threat to sustainable rice production in this region. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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