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Arsenic Dynamics in Porewater of an Intermittently Irrigated Paddy Field in Bangladesh

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2011, 00:00 by Linda C. Roberts, Stephan J. Hug, Andreas Voegelin, Jessica Dittmar, Ruben Kretzschmar, Bernhard Wehrli, Ganesh C. Saha, A. Borhan M. Badruzzaman, M. Ashraf Ali
In Bangladesh, irrigation of dry season rice (boro) with arsenic-contaminated groundwater is leading to increased As levels in soils and rice, and to concerns about As-induced yield reduction. Arsenic concentrations and speciation in soil porewater are strongly influenced by redox conditions, and thus by water management during rice growth. We studied the dynamics of As, Fe, P, Si, and other elements in porewater of a paddy field near Sreenagar (Munshiganj), irrigated according to local practice, in which flooding was intermittent. During early rice growth, As porewater concentrations reached up to 500 μg L−1 and were dominated by AsIII, but As release was constrained to the lower portion of the soil above the plow pan. In the later part of the season, soil conditions were oxic throughout the depth range relevant to rice roots and porewater concentrations only intermittently increased to ∼150 μg L−1 AsV following irrigation events. Our findings suggest that intermittent irrigation, currently advocated in Bangladesh for water-saving purposes, may be a promising means of reducing As input to paddy soils and rice plant exposure to As.