The Fate of Arsenic in Soil-Plant Systems

  • Eduardo Moreno-Jiménez
  • Elvira Esteban
  • Jesús M. Peñalosa
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 215)


Arsenic (As) is an element belonging to the group V-A, and it demonstrates characteristics of a metalloid. Because arsenic more easily forms anions, its non-metal properties dominate. When arsenic is in an oxidation state of +5, it acts similar to phosphorus, a fact that has many implications for the way in which it reacts in soil, as well as its potential toxicity in plants. The most common oxidation states of As are −3, 0, +3, and +5. Arsines and metal arsines are those in which As has an oxidation state of −3, and these forms are very unstable under oxidizing conditions. Under aerobic conditions, the oxidation state of As tends to be +5, and when this occurs at a pH between 2 and 3, arsenic acid (H3AsO4) is formed. When the pH rises to values between 3 and 11, this compound disassociates to H2AsO 4 and HAsO 4 2− (Smedley and Kinninburgh 2002). Under anaerobic conditions, the predominant As species is H3AsO3.


Organic Amendment Natural Attenuation Iron Plaque Aerial Tissue Arsenate Reductase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, project CTM 2010-21922-CO2-02, and by Comunidad de Madrid, project S2009/AMB-1478. Authors are grateful to Max Goldstein (BSc in Biological Sciences) and Maren Flagmeier (MSc in Ecology). The manuscript also benefited from the constructive comments of Dr. David M. Whitacre and two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Moreno-Jiménez
    • 1
  • Elvira Esteban
    • 1
  • Jesús M. Peñalosa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Agricultural ChemistryUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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