Retrospective study of methylmercury and other metal(loid)s in Madagascar unpolished rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Environ Pollut. 2015 Jan;196:125-33. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.10.002.


The rice ingestion rate in Madagascar is among the highest globally; however studies concerning metal(loid) concentrations in Madagascar rice are lacking. For Madagascar unpolished rice (n = 51 landraces), levels of toxic elements (e.g., total mercury, methylmercury, arsenic and cadmium) as well as essential micronutrients (e.g., zinc and selenium) were uniformly low, indicating potentially both positive and negative health effects. Aside from manganese (Wilcoxon rank sum, p < 0.01), no significant differences in concentrations for all trace elements were observed between rice with red bran (n = 20)and brown bran (n = 31) (Wilcoxon rank sum, p = 0.06-0.91). Compared to all elements in rice,rubidium (i.e., tracer for phloem transport) was most positively correlated with methylmercury (Pearson'sr = 0.33, p < 0.05) and total mercury (r = 0.44, p < 0.05), while strontium (i.e., tracer for xylemtransport) was least correlated with total mercury and methylmercury (r < 0.01 for both), suggesting inorganic mercury and methylmercury were possibly more mobile in phloem compared to xylem.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Cadmium / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Madagascar
  • Manganese / analysis
  • Mercury / analysis
  • Metalloids / analysis*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / analysis*
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Selenium / analysis
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Metalloids
  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Cadmium
  • Manganese
  • Mercury
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Arsenic
  • methylmercuric chloride