Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel


  • John F. Stolz
  • Ronald S. Oremland
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_12


Arsenic, element 33, is a metalloid in row VB of the periodic table. The main oxidation states are arsine (−3) elemental As(0), arsenite (+3), and arsenate (+5). Arsenate, As(V), and arsenite, As(III), are most common, with HAsO42− and H2AsO41− predominating under oxic conditions and H3AsO0 and H2AsO32−prevalent in anoxic environments. Arsenic is found in minerals such as arsenosulfides (e.g., arsenopyrite, realgar), iron hydroxides and aluminosilicates (e.g., clays), fossil fuels, geothermal sources, and weathered volcanic and evaporitic deposits. Anthropogenic inputs may also be considerable as organoarsenicals such as roxarsone (3-nitro-4-hydroxy benzene arsonic acid) and monosodium and disodium methyl arsonate continue to see wide spread use. The toxicology of arsenic is well known; As(V) is an analog of phosphate and can disrupt oxidative phosphorylation, while As(III) binds to sulfhydryl groups and can inhibit respiratory enzymes. Nevertheless, arsenic is readily...


Iron Oxide Biogeochemical Cycle Iron Hydroxide Inorganic Arsenic Wood Preservative 
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  1. Oremland, R. S., and Stolz, J. F., 2003. The ecology of arsenic. Science, 300, 939–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Oremland, R. S., and Stolz, J. F., 2005. Arsenic, microbes, and contaminated aquifers. Trends in Microbiology, 13, 45–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Stolz, J. F., Basu, P., Santini, J. M., and Oremland, R. S., 2006. Selenium and arsenic in microbial metabolism. Annual Review of Microbiology, 60, 107–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Stolz
    • 1
  • Ronald S. Oremland
    • 2
  1. 1.Bayer School of Natural & Environmental Sciences Department of Biological SciencesDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Water Resources Division, MS 480United States Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA