Arsenic uptake and toxicity in plants: integrating mycorrhizal influences
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- Smith, S.E., Christophersen, H.M., Pope, S. et al. Plant Soil (2010) 327: 1. doi:10.1007/s11104-009-0089-8
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Arsenic (As) contamination of soil and water is a global problem that impacts on many areas of biology. This review firstly covers aspects of soil chemistry and soil-plant interactions relevant to the ways plants take up As (particularly arsenate (As(V)) from aerobic soils, with especial attention to As-phosphorus (P) interactions. It then assesses the extent to which studies of plant As tolerance based on short-term uptake of As(V) from nutrient solutions can be extrapolated to longer-term growth in contaminated soil. Mycorrhizal symbioses are then highlighted, because they are formed by ~ 90% of higher plants, often with increased uptake of phosphate (Pi) compared with non-mycorrhizal (NM) counterparts. It is therefore likely that mycorrhizas influence As(V) uptake. Published work shows that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) plants (the most common mycorrhizal type) have higher P/As ratios than NM plants, and this would be expected to affect sensitivity to soil As. We discuss ways in which higher P/As selectivity might result from differential operation of P and As uptake pathways in AM compared with NM plants, taking into account new understanding of P uptake mechanisms. We also give suggestions for future research required to increase understanding of mechanisms of As(V) uptake, and its interactions with plant P.