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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2017, Vol. 11 Issue (1) : 1
Microbial mediated arsenic biotransformation in wetlands
Si-Yu Zhang1,2,Paul N. Williams3,Jinming Luo4,Yong-Guan Zhu1,5()
1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2. State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3. Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, BT9 7BN, UK
4. Key Laboratory of Drinking Water Science and Technology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
5. Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
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Distribution and behavior of arsenic in wetland are summarized.

Macro-scale and micro-scale processes in wetland are reviewed.

Microbes act as the switch in determining wetland as a source or sink of arsenic.

Environmental factors affecting arsenic microbial biotransformation are summarized.

Arsenic (As) is a pervasive environmental toxin and carcinogenic metalloid. It ranks at the top of the US priority List of Hazardous Substances and causes worldwide human health problems. Wetlands, including natural and artificial ecosystems (i.e. paddy soils) are highly susceptible to As enrichment; acting not only as repositories for water but a host of other elemental/chemical moieties. While macro-scale processes (physical and geological) supply As to wetlands, it is the micro-scale biogeochemistry that regulates the fluxes of As and other trace elements from the semi-terrestrial to neighboring plant/aquatic/atmospheric compartments. Among these fine-scale events, microbial mediated As biotransformations contribute most to the element’s changing forms, acting as the ‘switch’ in defining a wetland as either a source or sink of As. Much of our understanding of these important microbial catalyzed reactions follows relatively recent scientific discoveries. Here we document some of these key advances, with focuses on the implications that wetlands and their microbial mediated transformation pathways have on the global As cycle, the chemistries of microbial mediated As oxidation, reduction and methylation, and future research priorities areas.

Keywords Arsenic      Wetland      Microbes      Switch     
Corresponding Authors: Yong-Guan Zhu   
Issue Date: 25 November 2016
 Cite this article:   
Si-Yu Zhang,Paul N. Williams,Jinming Luo, et al. Microbial mediated arsenic biotransformation in wetlands[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2017, 11(1): 1.
Fig.1  Sources of As introduced to wetland, microbial mediated As biotransformation in wetland, and genes responsible for AsV respiratory reduction, AsV detoxification reduction, AsIII oxidation, and AsIII methylation.
species structure of As speciation
Arsenite, AsIII

Aesenate, AsV

Methylarsonate, MMAsV

Dimethylarsinate, DMAsV

Thrimethylarsine oxide, TMAO


Arsenobetaine, AsB

Tab.1  Structure of prevalent As species in the environment.
sediment quality guidelines in various countries country level As concentration (mg·kg−1) references
Hongkong ISQVs China ISQV-low 8.2 [15]
ISQV-high 70
Sediment Quality Criteria China Class I 20 [16]
Class II 65
Canadian Environmental Quality Guideline Canada ISQGs 7.24 [17]
PEL 41.6
Tab.2  The quality guidelines for As contamination in wetlands from different countries.
wetland types country sampling location As concentration (mg·kg−1/mg·L−1) references
coastal wetlands China Yellow River delta 38 [18]
Yangtze River delta 10 [19]
inland wetlands US Massachusetts 20-2100 [20]
Spain Guadalquivir 20 [21]
Fatehpur 72-114
paddy soils Bangladesh Dhumrakandi 62-138 [22]
Paranpur 73-77
Faridpur 34
India De Ganga 17
China Chenzhou 60 [23]
Qiyang 79
Anqing 19
Jiaxing 20
Yingtan 16
Jingzhou 19
Changde 16
Jiangmen 25
Guilin 21
Guiyang 21
Zhanjiang 18
wetland waters Bangladesh Malahar 60 [24]
Gerajan 80
Dohuria 11-14
Behi 11
Porabait 26
Barakhaillah 20
Jora 11
Uhila 18
Barakuri 11
Jerukuri 11
Bigaira 11
Tab.3  Summary of recently detected arsenic contaminated wetlands.
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