Arsenic distribution and speciation near rice roots influenced by iron plaques and redox conditions of the soil matrix

Environ Sci Technol. 2014;48(3):1549-56. doi: 10.1021/es402739a. Epub 2014 Jan 13.


Elevated arsenic (As) concentrations in rice and the soil solution result from changes in soil redox conditions, influenced by the water management practices during rice cultivation. Microscale changes in redox conditions from rhizosphere to soil matrix affect the As speciation and Fe plaque deposition. In order to focus on the rhizosphere environment, we observed microscale distribution and speciation of As around the rhizosphere of paddy rice with X-ray fluorescence mapping and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. When the soil matrix was anaerobic during rice growth, Fe-plaque did not cover the entire root, and As(III) was the dominant arsenic species in the soil matrix and rhizosphere. Draining before harvest led the conditions to shift to aerobic. Oxidation of As(III) to As(V) occurred faster in the Fe-plaque than the soil matrix. Arsenic was scavenged by iron mottles originating from Fe-plaque around the roots. The ratio of As(V) to As(III) decreased toward the outer-rim of the subsurface Fe mottles where the soil matrix was not completely aerated. These results provide direct evidence that speciation of As near rice roots depends on spatial and temporal redox variations in the soil matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Iron / chemistry*
  • Oryza / chemistry
  • Oryza / growth & development*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Rhizosphere
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy


  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Iron
  • Arsenic