Arsenic: A Review of the Element's Toxicity, Plant Interactions, and Potential Methods of Remediation

J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Aug 19;63(32):7097-107. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b02487. Epub 2015 Aug 11.


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element with a long history of toxicity. Sites of contamination are found worldwide as a result of both natural processes and anthropogenic activities. The broad scope of arsenic toxicity to humans and its unique interaction with the environment have led to extensive research into its physicochemical properties and toxic behavior in biological systems. The purpose of this review is to compile the results of recent studies concerning the metalloid and consider the chemical and physical properties of arsenic in the broad context of human toxicity and phytoremediation. Areas of focus include arsenic's mechanisms of human toxicity, interaction with plant systems, potential methods of remediation, and protocols for the determination of metals in experimentation. This assessment of the literature indicates that controlling contamination of water sources and plants through effective remediation and management is essential to successfully addressing the problems of arsenic toxicity and contamination.

Keywords: arsenic mechanism; arsenic toxicity; environmental contamination; human health; metal determination protocols; phytoremediation; plant interaction; remediation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Arsenic / metabolism*
  • Arsenic / toxicity
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Crops, Agricultural / chemistry
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Health
  • Humans


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Arsenic