, Volume 272, Issue 1-2, pp 337-347

Arsenic accumulation of common plants from contaminated soils

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A pot experiment was conducted to investigate the relationship between soluble concentrations of arsenic (As) in soil and its accumulation by maize (Zea mays), English ryegrass (Lolium perenne), rape (Brassica napus) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) on two different soils: a calcareous Regosol (silty loam) and a non-calcareous Regosol (sandy loam). Arsenic (Na2HAsO4·7H2O) was applied to obtain comparable soluble As concentrations in the two soils. In both soils, soluble As concentrations, extracted with 0.1 M NaNO3, were found to correlate better with As concentrations in plants after 4 month of growth than total soil concentrations, extracted with 2 M HNO3. With all four plant species, the relationship between the soluble As concentration in the soil and As that in the plants was non- linear, following “Michaelis-Menten” kinetics. Similar soluble As concentrations in the two soils did not result in a similar As concentration in the plants. Except for maize, arsenic transport from roots to shoots was significant, resulting in As concentrations in the leaves and grains above the Swiss tolerance limits for fodder and food crops (4 and 0.2 mg As kg−1, respectively). Based on these results we suggest that beside As solubility, P availability and P demand, which are plant specific, have to be taken into account to predict the uptake of As by crop plants from As contaminated soils and to predict the risk of arsenic entering into the food chain.