Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Arsenic uptake by crops

Due to the lack of reliable data on arsenic in most environmental compartments in Switzerland a NSF funded project was carried out to investigate the ecotoxicological risks of arsenic. The aim is to acquire the scientific basis which is necessary to assess the arsenic risk for the plant-man, plant-animal-man pathway. Little is known about the arsenic transfer from soil to plants. Therefore pea, maize, ryegrass and rape were put in an arsenic containing nutrient solution to test the uptake of arsenic by plants. In contrast to existing evidence the obtained results showed that all studied plants, grown in this experiment, were able to accumulate higher amounts of arsenic than 1 mg As kg -1 (dry weight) which is the currently accepted health limit for human consumption. To confirm the obtained results these plants will be studied in a pot experiment in the greenhouse on arsenic contaminated soils.

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