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Arsenic alleviation in rice by using paddy soil microbial fuel cells

  • Williamson Gustave
  • Zhao-Feng Yuan
  • Yu-Xiang Ren
  • Raju Sekar
  • Jun Zhang
  • Zheng ChenEmail author
Regular Article
  • 12 Downloads

Abstract

Background and aims

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) consumption is a major route of dietary exposure to arsenic (As) in humans. One main reason for the high accumulation of As in rice grain is the high bioavailability of As in porewater of flooded paddy soil. Recently, it has been shown that the application of soil microbial fuel cell (sMFC) can significantly reduce soil porewater As concentration, however, the effect of sMFC on As accumulation in rice is unknown. Hence, this study was aimed at reducing the As uptake in rice grown in As contaminated soil by sMFCs.

Methods

A pot experiment was performed to investigate As distribution in rice tissues and the functional microbial communities in soil when the sMFC was installed. The As in the soil porewater and rice plant parts were analyzed. 16S rRNA sequencing and Quantitative PCR were used to examine the microbial community and to quantify the relative abundance of As resistance genes in the rhizosphere, respectively.

Results

The results suggest that the sMFC can simultaneously work as an electricity generator and As mitigator. The total As concentrations in the stems, leaves, husks, and rice grains were significantly decreased by 53.4%, 44.7%, 62.6%, and 67.9%, respectively in the plants with sMFC compared to the control. This decrease in As accumulation in the sMFC treatment may be explained by the decrease in the soil porewater dissolve organic matter content and abundance of As reducing gene (arsC). Moreover, known As reducing classes such as Clostridia, Bacilli and Thermoleophilia were significantly enhanced in the control treatment.

Conclusions

Integrating the sMFC in rice paddy soil offers a promising way to mitigate As accumulation in rice tissue and reduce dietary As exposure, while simultaneously producing electricity.

Keywords

Rice Soil microbial fuel cell Arsenic Dissolve organic matter Iron 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (41571305) and Jiangsu Science and Technology Program (BK20161251). The authors acknowledge the kind help of Xiao Zhou and Yi-Li Cheng for their technical support in the sample analysis. The authors are grateful to Elmer Villanueva, Xu Rong and Sun Jing for their help in the statistical, figure drawing and bacterial data analysis, respectively. We also thank Markus Klingelfuss and Jacquelin St. Jean for proof reading the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4098_MOESM1_ESM.docx (102 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 101 kb)

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and Environmental SciencesXi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesXi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool UniversitySuzhouChina
  4. 4.Jiangsu Provincial Key Lab for Organic Solid Waste Utilization, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Solid Organic Waste Resource Utilization, College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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