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Effect of phosphate on arsenic species uptake in plants under hydroponic conditions


Monothioarsenate (MTA) is a newly discovered arsenic (As) compound that can be formed under reduced sulfur conditions, mainly in paddy soil pore waters. It is structurally similar to arsenate As(V) and inorganic phosphate (Pi), which is taken up through phosphate transporters. Due to the similarity between As(V) and Pi, As(V) enters into plants instead of Pi. The important role played by phytochelatin (PC), glutathione (GSH), and the PC-vacuolar transporters ABCC1 and ABCC2 under As stress in plants is well known. However, the plant uptake and mechanisms surrounding MTA still have not been completely addressed. This investigation was divided in two stages: first, several hydroponic assays were set up to establish the sensibility-tolerance of wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana (accession Columbia-0, Col-0). Then Col-0 was used as a control plant to evaluate the effects of As(V) or MTA in (PC)-deficient mutant (cad1–3), glutathione biosynthesis mutant (cad2), and PC transport (abcc1-2). The inhibitory concentration (IC50) root length was calculated for both As species. According to the results, both arsenic species (As(V) and MTA) exhibited high toxicity for the genotypes evaluated. This could mean that these mechanisms play a constitutive role in MTA detoxification. Second, for the Pi-MTA and As(V)-Pi competition assays, a series of experiments on hydroponic seedlings of A. thaliana were carried out using Col-0 and a pht1;1. The plants were grown under increasing Pi concentrations (10 μM, 0.1 mM, or 1 mM) at 10 μM As(V) or 50 μM MTA. The total As concentration in the roots was significantly lower in plants exposed to MTA, there being less As content in the pht1;1 mutant at the lowest Pi concentrations tested compared with the As(V)/Pi treatments. In addition, a higher rate of As translocation from the roots to the shoots under MTA was observed in comparison to the As(V)-treatments.

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The author would like to thank Christiane Meinen and Pia Schuster for their excellent technical assistance, Colleen Rafferty for the Total-arsenic quantification support, Dr. Stephan Clemens for hosting the research, Dr. Manuel Braun and Dr. Michael Weber for their useful advice and fruitful discussions, and Dr. Reza Salehi and Dr. Rafael González for their advice on early drafts of this paper.


The author did not receive support from any organization for the submitted paper.

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AM performed the experiments (including analyses), evaluated the results, and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Andrea Monroy-Licht.

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Monroy-Licht, A. Effect of phosphate on arsenic species uptake in plants under hydroponic conditions. J Plant Res (2022).

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  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Arsenic uptake
  • Phosphate transporter
  • Phytotoxicity