Distribution patterns of inorganic mercury and methylmercury in tissues of rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants and possible bioaccumulation pathways

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):4951-8. doi: 10.1021/jf904557x.


Whole rice plants (Oryza sativa L.) were collected at different typical mercury (Hg) contaminated sites during regular harvest periods to investigate the distribution of inorganic mercury (IHg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in tissues. The whole rice plants were divided into rice seed (brown rice), hull, root, stalk and leaf. Elevated IHg and MeHg concentrations were observed in rice plants cultivated in Hg mining area compared to those obtained from the control site, which attributed to the Hg contamination of soil compartments by the historical large-scale Hg mining/smelting and ongoing artisanal Hg smelting activities. Our observations showed that Hg in ambient air was the potential source of IHg to the above ground parts, whereas IHg concentrations in root were restricted to Hg concentrations in paddy soil. The rice seed has the highest ability to accumulate MeHg compared to the other tissues. MeHg in paddy soil is a potential source to tissues of rice plant. Our study suggested that newly deposited Hg is comparatively more easily methylated than old mercury in soil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Quality Control
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Mercury