Microbial mediated arsenic biotransformation in wetlands

  • Si-Yu Zhang
  • Paul N. Williams
  • Jinming Luo
  • Yong-Guan ZhuEmail author
Feature Article


Arsenic (As) is a pervasive environmental toxin and carcinogenic metalloid. It ranks at the top of the US priority List of Hazardous Substances and causes worldwide human health problems. Wetlands, including natural and artificial ecosystems (i.e. paddy soils) are highly susceptible to As enrichment; acting not only as repositories for water but a host of other elemental/chemical moieties. While macroscale processes (physical and geological) supply As to wetlands, it is the micro-scale biogeochemistry that regulates the fluxes of As and other trace elements from the semi-terrestrial to neighboring plant/aquatic/atmospheric compartments. Among these fine-scale events, microbial mediated As biotransformations contribute most to the element’s changing forms, acting as the ‘switch’ in defining a wetland as either a source or sink of As. Much of our understanding of these important microbial catalyzed reactions follows relatively recent scientific discoveries. Here we document some of these key advances, with focuses on the implications that wetlands and their microbial mediated transformation pathways have on the global As cycle, the chemistries of microbial mediated As oxidation, reduction and methylation, and future research priorities areas.


Arsenic Wetland Microbes Switch 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Si-Yu Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul N. Williams
    • 3
  • Jinming Luo
    • 4
  • Yong-Guan Zhu
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Drinking Water Science and Technology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina

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