Higher zero valent iron soil amendments dosages markedly inhibit accumulation of As in Faya and Kilombero cultivars compared to Cd

Angstone Thembachako Mlangeni*, Shaun T. Lancaster, Andrea Raab, Eva M. Krupp, Gareth J. Norton, Joerg Feldmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Impact of zero valent iron (Fe°) amendment on grain-yield (GY) and grain-As and Cd accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars Kilombero and Faya were investigated. Rice plants were amended with Fe° dosages of 0, 3.1, 6.2, and 12.4 g Fe°/kg soil in pots in greenhouse experiments under continuous flooding water regime. GY in each treatment was determined at maturity, grain-As and Cd and arsenic species concentrations were determined using ICP-MS and HPLC tandem ICP-MS respectively. Mean GY in Faya (5.5 ± 1.0 g/plant) and Kilombero (4.2 ± 0.4 g/plant) amended with at least 6.2 g Fe°/kg soil were at least 57% and 22% respectively significantly higher (F = 11; p = 0.003) than that in controls (3.7 ± 0.6 and 3.4 ± 0.4 g/plant). For As bioaccumulation, mean grain-As concentration in Faya T2 (≤227 ± 32 μg/kg) and Kilombero (≤218 ± 25 μg/kg) amended with at least 6.2 g Fe°/kg soil in were at least 83% and 77% respectively significantly lower (F = 7; p = 0.004) than that in controls (973 ± 43 μg/kg and 1278 ± 208 μg/kg). Mean grain-Cd concentrations in Faya (10 ± 2 μg/kg) and Kilombero (13 ± 3 μg/kg) amended with corresponding Fe° dosages were at least 26% and 39% significantly lower (F = 4; p < 0.05) than that in controls (18 ± 3 and 23 ± 1 μg/kg). Results indicated that amending Kilombero with at least 6.2 g/kg Fe° effectively optimally regulated both grain-As and Cd accumulation to values lower than the European Commission's legislated maximum contaminant limits (MCL) of 200 μg/kg without negating grain yield benefits. Our results suggest that bioaccumulation of both As and Cd in rice grains may be completely circumvented by adopting cultivar-specific Fe° amendment dosage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148735
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date3 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to the UK Government for providing the Scholarship to Angstone Thembachako Mlangeni (commonwealth scholar: MWCS-2015-334 ) through the Commonwealth Scholarship commission to carry out doctoral research at University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for both their kind comments and generous suggestions for upgrading this paper. ATM also thanks Dr. Magali Perez, Mr. Luke David Harrold and Mr. Michael William McGibbon for technical assistance with instrumentation.


  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Cultivar
  • Faya
  • Kilombero
  • Zero valent iron (Fe°)


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