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A Systematic Review on Arsenic Bio-Availability in Human and Animals: Special Focus on the Rice–Human System

  • Anirban Biswas
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series


The present systematic review synthesizes the diverse documentation of research on the occurrence of arsenic in soil–water systems and the human and animal bio-availability scenarios related to food chain contamination by arsenic. Humans and animals may drink arsenic-contaminated groundwater in addition to consuming foods that have been grown in arsenic-contaminated groundwater and soils. Rice grain is a potential arsenic carrier and the staple food in many parts of the world, particularly in Southeast Asian countries. Data have been summarized from 183 articles describing different aspects of arsenic flow in the food chain, that is, the soil–water–rice–human system and the water–crops–animals system and the bio-availability of arsenic to humans and animals. The phyto-availability of arsenic depends on the physicochemical and biological conditions of soil and water. In humans, the bio-accessibility of inorganic arsenic is 63–99%. Arsenic is more bio-available from rice than from other foods: different food materials differ in bio-accessible potential. Additionally, the review identifies trends in research on arsenic contamination and food chain flow considering arsenic species, toxicity assessment, and bio-accessibility studies. This systematic review provides a comprehensive assessment of the documented evidence to be used to guide future research on arsenic availability for the rice plant and subsequent availability to humans from cooked rice that can determine arsenic toxicity. The review also highlights how the focus of research on arsenic as a pollutant has changed in the past decades.



Dimethylarsinic acid


National Research Council


Radial oxygen loss (ROL)


TNO GastroIntestinal model


Trophic transfer coefficient


World Health Organization


X-ray absorption near edge structure



The author acknowledges the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology (DST-SERB), Government of India for providing research funding as National Postdoctoral Fellowship (File No. PDF/2016/000699). The author also acknowledges the authors whose works have been considered in the present work. We also acknowledge the anonymous persons responsible for making the web databases available relating to our database search.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anirban Biswas
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

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