Irrigation with arsenic contaminated groundwater in the Bengal Delta may lead to As accumulation in the soil and rice grain. The dynamics of As concentration and speciation in paddy fields during dry season (boro) rice cultivation were investigated at 4 sites in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. Three sites which were irrigated with high As groundwater had elevated As concentrations in the soils, showing a significant gradient from the irrigation inlet across the field. Arsenic concentration and speciation in soil pore water varied temporally and spatially; higher As concentrations were associated with an increasing percentage of arsenite, indicating a reductive mobilization. Concentrations of As in rice grain varied by 2-7 fold within individual fields and were poorly related with the soil As concentration. A field site employing alternating flooded-dry irrigation produced the lowest range of grain As concentration, suggesting a lower soil As availability caused by periodic aerobic conditions.
- Arsenic speciation
- Soil pore water