Arsenic bioaccumulation and biotransformation in aquatic organisms

Wei Zhang, Ai Jun Miao, Ning Xin Wang, Chengjun Li, Jun Sha, Jianbo Jia, Daniel S. Alessi, Bing Yan, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic exists universally in freshwater and marine environments, threatening the survival of aquatic organisms and human health. To elucidate arsenic bioaccumulation and biotransformation processes in aquatic organisms, this review evaluates the dissolved uptake, dietary assimilation, biotransformation, and elimination of arsenic in aquatic organisms and discusses the major factors influencing these processes. Environmental factors such as phosphorus concentration, pH, salinity, and dissolved organic matter influence arsenic absorption from aquatic systems, whereas ingestion rate, gut passage time, and gut environment affect the assimilation of arsenic from foodstuffs. Arsenic bioaccumulation and biotransformation mechanisms differ depending on specific arsenic species and the involved aquatic organism. Although some enzymes engaged in arsenic biotransformation are known, deciphering the complicated synthesis and degradation pathway of arsenobetaine remains a challenge. The elimination of arsenic involves many processes, such as fecal excretion, renal elimination, molting, and reproductive processes. This review facilitates our understanding of the environmental behavior and biological fate of arsenic and contributes to regulation of the environmental risk posed by arsenic pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107221
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21876180, 22006025, 21822605, and 21677068), the introduced innovative R&D team project under the “The Pearl River Talent Recruitment Program” of Guangdong Province (2019ZT08L387), the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (2021R1A2C2011734), the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (PJ01475801), Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2021R1A6A1A10045235).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Arsenic speciation
  • Assimilation efficiency
  • Efflux
  • Food chain
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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