Plant and Soil

, Volume 430, Issue 1–2, pp 413–422 | Cite as

Thiosulfate amendment reduces mercury accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

  • Yunyun Li
  • Hailong Li
  • Yong Yu
  • Jiating Zhao
  • Yongjie Wang
  • Cong Hu
  • Hong Li
  • Guo WangEmail author
  • Yufeng Li
  • Yuxi GaoEmail author
Regular Article


Background and aims

Thiosulfate addition increases the solubility of mercury (Hg) in soil and Hg uptake by plants under oxic conditions. However, anoxic conditions could dominate the biogeochemical processes of Hg cycling during rice cultivation. The present study aimed to determine whether thiosulfate, a sulfur-containing fertilizer, could be used for Hg immobilization in paddy soil.


A pot experiment was conducted using soil newly spiked with Hg and different doses of thiosulfate. Total Hg concentrations in rice tissues, Hg speciation in roots, and geochemical fraction of Hg in soils were investigated. Hydroponic cultivation was conducted to determine the subcellular distribution of Hg in root tissues.


Thiosulfate application significantly reduced Hg concentration in rice plants. It increased the percentage of organic-bound Hg, but decreased the percentage of iron/manganese oxide-bound Hg. Thiosulfate enhanced iron plaque formation and Hg adsorption on the iron plaque. Its application increased the percentage of Hg forms similar to HgS and decreased those similar to Hg-glutathione [Hg(GS)2].


Thiosulfate amendments had a remarkable inhibitory effect on Hg accumulation in rice plants in newly Hg-spiked soil. This occurred because thiosulfate reduced Hg mobility in the rhizosphere and root tissues, promoted the formation of iron plaque, and facilitated more Hg adsorption by the iron plaque. Our findings suggest that appropriate thiosulfate treatment could be used as Hg-immobilizing agents in paddy soil.


Thiosulfate Mercury speciation Paddy soil Iron plaque Anoxic condition 



This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1432241, 21377129, and 21777162) and the National Student’s Innovative Entrepreneurial Training Program of China (201710389032).

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3726_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33.2 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunyun Li
    • 1
  • Hailong Li
    • 1
  • Yong Yu
    • 1
  • Jiating Zhao
    • 2
  • Yongjie Wang
    • 3
  • Cong Hu
    • 1
  • Hong Li
    • 2
  • Guo Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yufeng Li
    • 2
  • Yuxi Gao
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environment, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil Environmental Health and RegulationFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Metallomics and Nanometallomics, Institute of High Energy PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Geographic SciencesEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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