Agronomic Strategies for Reducing Arsenic Risk in Rice

  • Satoru IshikawaEmail author
  • Tomohito Arao
  • Tomoyuki Makino
Part of the Current Topics in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine book series (CTEHPM)


Dietary exposure to arsenic (As) has become a serious issue because it may pose a health risk. In particular, rice is a major source of inorganic As (the more toxic form) for a large part of the world’s population. The greater assimilation of As by rice than by other crops is mainly attributed to two reasons: the high arsenite bioavailability in reductive paddy soil and the high ability to transport arsenite through silicon transporters. The fundamental mechanisms relating to As uptake and transport from soil to rice grains have been increasingly explored. Along with an advanced understanding of As mechanisms, techniques have been developed to minimize As levels in rice. Here, we propose three strategies that can be applied to paddy fields as countermeasures for As reduction. First, intermittent irrigation is effective at reducing As levels in rice grains, but this approach may increase cadmium (Cd) levels. Consequently, growing low-Cd cultivars aerobically is the practical way to simultaneously reduce the Cd and As levels in the rice grains. Second, the application of iron-bearing materials is effective at reducing As and Cd in rice grown under flooded conditions. Third, the selection of low-As cultivars and the modification of the genes responsible for grain As levels are promising possibilities. We confirmed that the As levels in the grains were significantly lower in rice lines overexpressing OsPCS1, which encodes an enzyme for synthesizing the phytochelatin necessary to conjugate arsenite. These strategies would help greatly reduce the As levels in paddy rice.


Arsenic species Cadmium Iron-bearing materials Irrigation Low-cadmium cultivar Phytochelatin Paddy field Plant breeding Rice Transporters 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoru Ishikawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tomohito Arao
    • 2
  • Tomoyuki Makino
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Agro-Environmental SciencesNational Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)IbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Institute Central Region Agricultural Research CenterNational Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)IbarakiJapan

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