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, 10 (1), 4985

Rice Production Threatened by Coupled Stresses of Climate and Soil Arsenic

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Rice Production Threatened by Coupled Stresses of Climate and Soil Arsenic

E Marie Muehe et al. Nat Commun.

Abstract

Projections of global rice yields account for climate change. They do not, however, consider the coupled stresses of impending climate change and arsenic in paddy soils. Here, we show in a greenhouse study that future conditions cause a greater proportion of pore-water arsenite, the more toxic form of arsenic, in the rhizosphere of Californian Oryza sativa L. variety M206, grown on Californian paddy soil. As a result, grain yields decrease by 39% compared to yields at today's arsenic soil concentrations. In addition, future climatic conditions cause a nearly twofold increase of grain inorganic arsenic concentrations. Our findings indicate that climate-induced changes in soil arsenic behaviour and plant response will lead to currently unforeseen losses in rice grain productivity and quality. Pursuing rice varieties and crop management practices that alleviate the coupled stresses of soil arsenic and change in climatic factors are needed to overcome the currently impending food crisis.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interests.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Grain yield of Oryza sativa L. cv M206 grown under different climatic and soil arsenic conditions. Dehusked grain weight per plant for rice grown under today’s (grey, 33 °C and 415 ppmv CO2), future (purple, 38 °C and 850 ppmv CO2), elevated CO2 (blue, 33 °C and 850 ppmv CO2), and elevated temperature (red, 38 °C and 415 ppmv CO2) climatic conditions on paddy soil with low (solid, 7.3 mg As kg−1 dry soil) and high arsenic levels (chequered, 24.5 mg As kg−1 dry soil). (Eight biological replicates, mean values ± standard errors were compared with each other using the unpaired t test at a 95% confidence interval. Different lowercase letters indicate that mean values were significantly different from each other (p < 0.05), for details see Supplementary Table 2a and Supplementary Fig. 2)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Arsenic contents in Oryza sativa L. cv. M206 grains produced under different climatic and soil arsenic conditions. a Amount of organic (upper bar) and inorganic (lower bar) arsenic accumulated in dehusked grains produced under today’s (grey), future (purple), elevated CO2 (blue) and elevated temperature (red) climatic conditions with low (solid) and high (chequered) soil arsenic levels. Upper green dashed line represents the European Union limit of 250 µg inorganic arsenic kg−1 in husked rice, and the lower green dashed line represents the European Union and United States limit of 100 µg inorganic arsenic kg−1 in infant food. b Arsenic species (arsenite and DMA) X-ray fluorescence micrographs of husked grains produced under today’s and future climatic conditions with high soil arsenic levels. Scale bar 500 µm. c Amount of arsenic accumulated in husk, and d percentage of arsenic retained by husk compared to amount of arsenic that entered the grain. (Eight biological replicates, mean values ± standard errors were compared to each other using the unpaired t test at a 95% confidence interval. Different lowercase letters indicate that mean values were significantly different from each other (p < 0.05), for details see Supplementary Table 2b, c, d)
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Dissolved arsenic in rhizosphere pore-water of Oryza sativa L. cv. M206 under different climatic and soil arsenic conditions. The total pore-water arsenic under (a) high soil arsenic levels (filled symbols with dashed line) and (b) low soil arsenic levels (empty symbols with solid line), c pore-water arsenite (here labelled as As(III)) and arsenate (here labelled as As(V)) contributions during grain filling. Pore-water was extracted at 10-cm soil depth from M206 grown under today’s (grey), future (purple), elevated CO2 (blue) and elevated temperature (red) climatic conditions. (Six biological replicates, mean values ± standard errors, see cumulative and rate values in Supplementary Table 4)

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