Iron modification to silicon-rich biochar and alternative water management to decrease arsenic accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Prasanna Kumarathilaka, Jochen Bundschuh, Saman Seneweera, Alla Marchuk, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Production of rice grains at non-toxic levels of arsenic (As) to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population is a global challenge. There is currently a lack of investigation into integrated approaches for decreasing As levels in rice agro-ecosystems. By examining the integrated iron-modified rice hull biochar (Fe-RBC) and water management approaches on As dynamics in the paddy agro-ecosystem, this study aims to reduce As accumulation in rice grains. The rice cultivar, Ishikari, was grown and irrigated with As-containing water (1 mg L−1 of As(V)), under the following treatments: (1) Fe-RBC-flooded water management, (2) Fe-RBC-intermittent water management, (3) conventional flooded water management, and (4) intermittent water management. Compared to the conventional flooded water management, grain weight per pot and Fe and Si concentrations in the paddy pore water under Fe-RBC-intermittent and Fe-RBC-flooded treatments increased by 24%–39%, 100%–142%, and 93%–184%, respectively. The supplementation of Fe-RBC decreased the As/Fe ratio and the abundance of Fe(III) reducing bacteria (i.e. Bacillus, Clostridium, Geobacter, and Anaeromyxobacter) by 57%–88% and 24%–64%, respectively, in Fe-RBC-flooded and Fe-RBC-intermittent treatments compared to the conventional flooded treatment. Most importantly, Fe-RBC-intermittent treatment significantly (p ≤ 0.05) decreased As accumulation in rice roots, shoots, husks, and unpolished rice grains by 62%, 37%, 79%, and 59%, respectively, compared to the conventional flooded treatment. Overall, integrated Fe-RBC-intermittent treatment could be proposed for As endemic areas to produce rice grains with safer As levels, while sustaining rice yields to meet the demands of growing populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117661
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Inorganic arsenic
  • Iron-biochar
  • Microorganisms
  • Rice
  • Silicon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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