Comparative analysis of speciation and bioaccessibility of arsenic in rice grains and complementary medicines

S. Bolan, A. Kunhikrishnan, S. Chowdhury, B. Seshadri, R. Naidu, Y. S. Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In many countries, rice grains and complementary medicines are important sources of arsenic (As) consumption. The objective of this study was to compare the speciation and bioaccessibility of As in selected rice grains and complementary medicines. A number of rice grain samples, and a range of herbal and ayurvedic medicines were analyzed for total As, speciation of As using sequential fractionation and extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) techniques, and bioaccessibility of As using an in vitro extraction test. The daily intake of As through the uptake of these As sources was compared with the safety guidelines for As. The results demonstrated higher levels of As in ayurvedic medicines compared to herbal medicines and rice grains. The sequential fractionation showed the dominance of organic-bound As species in rice grains and herbal medicines, however, inorganic-bound As species dominated the ayurvedic medicines. This implies that As is derived from plant uptake in herbal medicines and rice grains, and from inorganic mineral input in ayurvedic medicines. Arsenic bioaccessibility was higher in ayurvedic than herbal medicines and rice grains, suggesting that inorganic As added as a mineral therapeutic input is more bioaccessible than organic As species derived from plant uptake. This study also showed a positive relationship between soluble As fractions and bioaccessibility indicating that solubility is an important factor controlling bioaccessibility. The daily intake values for As as estimated by total As content are likely to exceed the safe threshold level in rice grains that are enriched with As.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ayurvedic medicines
  • Chinese medicines
  • Complementary medicines
  • Heavy metal(loid)s
  • Rice grains
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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