Effect of HNO3 and H2SO4 on the paddy ecosystem: A mesocosm study with exposure at PNEC and HC50 levels

Minseok Park, Wonjae Hwang, Jino Son, June Wee, Kijong Cho, Seunghun Hyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Paddy mesocosms comprising of rice (Oryza sativa), snail (Pomacea canaliculata), and worm (Tubifex tubifex) were used to assess the damage caused by two acids (HNO3 and H2SO4) at predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) and hazardous concentration for 50% of species (HC50) levels. In the fourth week, the fresh weight and shoot height of O. sativa at H2SO4-HC50 were reduced by 83.2% and 30.3%, respectively. Wilted leaves (%) at HC50 were approximately twice that at PNEC. No P. canaliculata and T. tubifex were recovered at HC50. At H2SO4-PNEC, the length and weight of P. canaliculata were reduced by 7.4% and 25.9%, respectively, whereas fewer adult (46.5%) and juvenile (84%) T. tubifex were recovered. In the 20th week, rice growth and productivity were correlated with initial pH (pHi) and nitrogen levels. Poor correlation with chlorophyll at the active tillering stage suggests the disturbance of nutrient uptake by roots. Partial least squares path modeling (PLS-PM) results further supported that the pHi directly affects grain yield and quality, as well as plant growth. The indirect effect via intervening fourth-week-variables was also substantial. Therefore, it is important to measure initial pH upon acid spill to estimate the risk to the paddy ecosystem. Information on the change in soil properties associated with acidity will also aid in predicting the yield and quality of grain to be harvested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5244
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This study was supported by a Korea University Grant.

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) as The Chemical Accident Prevention Technology Development Project (2016001970003).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Acid spill
  • Nitric acid
  • Paddy mesocosm
  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • Sulfuric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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