Rice minerals and heavy metal(oid)s

Gareth J. Norton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


The content of macro- and micronutrients in rice plays a critical role in their efficient growth and reproduction. As well as being vital to the rice plant, these elements accumulate in the grain, creating a dietary intake pathway. For many years breeding approaches in rice were focused on yield, and improving abiotic and biotic resistance. However, as more is known about diets, it is not only the calorific and protein content of rice that is important but also the vitamin and elemental mineral content. Rice is a major dietary component for a large proportion of the world’s population, therefore understanding the contribution rice makes to the micronutrients of the diet is important. White rice can often be lacking in major micronutrients like iron and zinc, while concentrations of these elements can be higher in brown rice. As genetic and molecular techniques have improved in the last decades so has the understanding of the accumulation and distribution of elements in rice plants. For a large number of elements the mechanisms of uptake and transport are known, and work is being conducted on the biofortification of rice with key nutritional elements such as iron and zinc. Not all elements that are accumulated by plants are beneficial to the plant. Of all the major cereal crops, rice has been identified as accumulating high concentrations of arsenic. Not only is this element phytotoxic to the rice plant but it can be accumulated in the grain where it becomes a dietary source of arsenic. A summary of the uptake, transport, and accumulation of the concentrations of key elements (iron, zinc, cadmium, and arsenic) in rice are presented. Additionally, strategies for increasing micronutrients (iron and zinc) in rice grain and decreasing potentially toxic elements (arsenic and cadmium) using molecular approaches, including the identification of natural variation and transgenic methods, are explored. Finally, a summary of recently released cultivars with increased micronutrient status is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRice
Subtitle of host publicationChemistry and Technology
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780128115084
ISBN (Print)9780128115091
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 AACC International.


  • Arsenic
  • Biofortification
  • Iron
  • Phytate
  • Transgenic approaches
  • Zinc


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