Changes in arsenic fractionation, bioaccessibility and speciation in organo-arsenical pesticide amended soils as a function of soil aging

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Department of Biological Sciences


Although organoarsenical pesticides are being phased out, sites with high concentrations of organic arsenical residues still exist due to the long-term application of these pesticides. The biotic and abiotic speciation of dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) can result in the formation of inorganic arsenic (As) species. Oxidation state, retention, and thereby persistence, varies according to temporal changes, influencing the availability and toxicity of contaminants. The current greenhouse study aimed at evaluating temporal changes in the oxidation state of As, geochemical partitioning, and bioaccessibility. Four soils with varying physiochemical properties were contaminated with DMA at two concentrations (675 and 1500mgkg-1 of As). Rice plants were grown for a 6months period, following which, the soils were allowed to age. The operationally defined forms of As and its bioaccessibility was analyzed at 0, 6months, 1year, and 3years. Changes in oxidation state of As were evaluated immediately after spiking and after 3years of soil-pesticide equilibration. Results show that geochemical partitioning of As was affected significantly (P < 0.05) by soil type, loading rates, and equilibration time. Arsenic was bound mainly to the poorly-crystalline Fe/Al-oxyhydroxides in the soil. However, these interactions did not affect As bioaccessibility, presumably due to the dissolution of the bound fractions of As in the acidic stomach. While 74-94% of the total bioaccessible As was transformed to As(V), 4-19% was transformed to the more toxic As(III). This study indicates that although aging affected the geochemical partitioning of As in the soil, bioaccesibility was controlled by the gastric pH.

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© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.05.047

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