Evaluation of fertility indicators associated with arsenic-contaminated paddy fields soil

  • P. S. ChauhanEmail author
  • S. K. Mishra
  • S. Misra
  • V. K. Dixit
  • S. Pandey
  • P. Khare
  • M. H. Khan
  • S. Dwivedi
  • A. Lehri
Original Paper


Emerging environmental issues related to heavy metal contamination in rice draw great concern about the soil quality of paddy farming lands irrigated with groundwater. Investigating the functioning of soil microorganisms exposed to heavy metal contamination is imperative for agricultural soil manipulations. The current study accentuates the influence of heavy metals on microbial activity and community composition in arable soil of West Bengal State of India. The result revealed that the fertility indicators (activity of all soil enzymes) and growth-limiting factors (soil N and P) were negatively correlated with the heavy metal stress except the soil total organic content which demonstrated significant positive correlation with the heavy metals. In case of functional diversity of soil, all the considered diversity indices exhibited no specific pattern along with the availability of heavy metals. Further, despite the heavy metal contamination, we observed a very complex and indifferent pattern of bacterial community composition along the heavy metal contamination sites. Overall, we found that γ-Proteobacteria had been the most abundant bacterial community followed by Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, β-Proteobacteria and α-Proteobacteria. Commemorating all the results, we can infer that arsenic and other heavy metal contamination is deteriorating the soil quality and hence warrants immediate attention of concerned soil scientist and agronomists.


Heavy metal Arsenic Microbial diversity DGGE Soil fertility 



The study was conducted using the operating funds of the network project Plant Microbe and Soil Interactions (PMSI) (BSC-0117) funded by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India. Authors are thankful to the Director, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow, for providing necessary resources to conduct this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13762_2017_1583_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


  1. Alef K, Nannipieri P (1995) Methods in applied soil microbiology and biochemistry. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Ali MA, Badruzzaman ABM, Jalil MA, Hossain MD, Ahmed MF, Al Masud A, Kamruzzaman M, Rahman MA (2003) Fate of arsenic extracted with groundwater. In: Ahmed MF, Ali MA, Adeel Z (eds) Fate of arsenic in the environment. ITN Center, BUET on behalf Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and United Nations University, Dhaka, pp 7–20Google Scholar
  3. Bell C, Carrillo Y, Boot CM, Rocca JD, Pendall E, Wallenstein MD (2014) Rhizosphere stoichiometry: are C:N:P ratios of plants, soils, and enzymes conserved at the plant species-level? New Phytol 201:505–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonfante P, Anca AL (2009) Plants, mycorrhizal fungi, and bacteria: a network of interactions. Annu Rev Microbiol 63:363–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brackhage C, Huang JH, Schaller J, Elzinga EJ, Dudel GE (2014) Readily available phosphorous and nitrogen counteract for arsenic uptake and distribution in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Sci Rep 4:4944CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Das S, Jean JS, Kar S, Chakraborty S (2013) Effect of arsenic contamination on bacterial and fungal biomass and enzyme activities in tropical arsenic-contaminated soils. Biol Fertil Soils 49:757–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deng L, Zeng G, Fan C, Lu L, Chen X, Chen M, Wu H, He X, He Y (2015) Response of rhizosphere microbial community structure and diversity to heavy metal co-pollution in arable soil. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 99:8259–8269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fließbach A, Martens R, Reber HH (1994) Soil microbial biomass and microbial activity in soils treated with heavy metal contaminated sewage sludge. Soil Biol Biochem 26:1201–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hamer U, Makeschin F (2009) Rhizosphere soil microbial community structure and microbial activity in set-aside and intensively managed arable land. Plant Soil 316:57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hossain MF (2006) Arsenic contamination in Bangladesh—an overview. Agric Ecosyst Environ 113:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jiang W, Hou Q, Yang Z, Zhong C, Zheng G, Yang Z, Li J (2014) Evaluation of potential effects of soil available phosphorus on soil arsenic availability and paddy rice inorganic arsenic content. Environ Pollut 188:159–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kandeler E, Kampichler C, Horak O (1996) Influence of heavy metals on the functional diversity of soil microbial communities. Biol Fertil Soils 23:299–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Khan MH, Meghvansi MK, Gupta R, Veer V (2015) Elemental stoichiometry indicates predominant influence of potassium and phosphorus limitation on arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in acidic soil at high altitude. J Plant Physiol 189:105–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lorenz N, Hintemann T, Kramarewa T, Katayama A, Yasuta T, Marschner P, Kandeler E (2006) Response of microbial activity and microbial community composition in soils to long-term arsenic and cadmium exposure. Soil Biol Biochem 38:1430–1437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Majumder A, Bhattacharyya K, Bhattacharyya S, Kole SC (2013) Arsenic-tolerant, arsenite-oxidising bacterial strains in the contaminated soils of West Bengal, India. Sci Total Environ 463–464:1006–1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mandal BK, Suzuki KT (2002) Arsenic round the world: a review. Talanta 58:201–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meharg AA (2004) Arsenic in rice- understanding a new disaster for South-East Asia. Trends Plant Sci 9:415–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moreno-Jiménez E, Manzano R, Esteban E, Peñalosa JM (2012) The fate of arsenic in soil–plant system. In: Whitacre DM (ed) Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology. Springer, New York, pp 1–37Google Scholar
  19. Muhlbachova G, Sagova-Mareckova M, Omelka M, Szakova J, Tlustos P (2015) The influence of soil organic carbon on interactions between microbial parameters and metal concentrations at a long-term contaminated site. Sci Total Environ 502:218–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Muyzer G, De-Waal EC, Uitierlinden AG (1993) Profiling of complex microbial populations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA. Appl Environ Microbiol 59:695–700Google Scholar
  21. Nautiyal CS, Chauhan PS, Bhatia CR (2010) Changes in soil physico-chemical properties and microbial functional diversity due to 14 years of conversion of grassland to organic agriculture in semi-arid agroecosystem. Soil Till Res 109:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pennanen T, Frostegard A, Fritze H, Baath E (1996) Phospholipid fatty acid composition and heavy metal tolerance of soil microbial communities along two heavy metal polluted gradients in coniferous forest. Appl Environ Microbial 62:420–428Google Scholar
  23. Senn DB, Hemond HF (2002) Nitrate controls on iron and arsenic in an urban lake. Science 296:2373–2376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Speir TW, Kettles HA, Parshotam A, Searle PL, Vlaar LNC (1999) Simple kinetic approach to determine the toxicity of As(V) to soil biological properties. Soil Biol Biochem 31:705–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sutton NB, van der Kraan GM, van Loosdrecht MC, Muyzer G, Bruining J, Schotting RJ (2009) Characterization of geochemical constituents and bacterial populations associated with As mobilization in deep and shallow tube wells in Bangladesh. Water Res 43:1720–1730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Talukder ASMHM, Meisner CA, Sarkar MAR, Islam MS, Sayre KD (2014) Effects of water management, arsenic and phosphorus levels on rice yield in high-arsenic soil–water system. Rice Sci 21:99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tamura K, Dudley J, Nei M, Kumar S (2007) MEGA4: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0. Mol Biol Evol 24:1596–1599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Turpeinen R, Kairesalo T, Haggblom MM (2004) Microbial community structure and activity in arsenic-chromium and copper-contaminated soils. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 47:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wang Q, He M, Wang Y (2011) Influence of combined pollution of antimony and arsenic on culturable soil microbial populations and enzyme activities. Ecotoxicology 20:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. WHO (2011) Arsenic in drinking-water. Background document for development of WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality. Geneva, Switzerland.

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Plant-Microbe InteractionsCSIR-National Botanical Research InstituteLucknowIndia

Personalised recommendations