Microbial communities in rice rhizosphere altered by intermittent and continuous flooding in fields with long-term arsenic application Academic Article uri icon


  • Rice cultivated on arsenic (As)-contaminated soils can, under some conditions, accumulate high concentrations of As in grain, mostly as a result of the continuous flooding practices commonly used for rice cultivation. Intermittent flooding, as opposed to continuous flooding, might reduce soluble As concentrations in the rice rhizosphere, but it might also alter soil microbial populations that may impact As chemistry. A field-scale study was conducted to analyze As concentrations and microbial populations in the rice rhizosphere, in response to intermittent and continuous flooding in plots that were historically amended with " As-containing" pesticide and unamended soil. Rhizosphere, pore-water and grain As concentrations were quantified, and microbial populations in the rhizosphere were characterized using community quantitative-PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Pore-water As concentrations decreased by 41-81% and grain As by 31-48% in the intermittently flooded plots relative to the continuously flooded plots. The relative abundance of bacteria increased over the course of the growing season, while archaeal and fungal gene abundances decreased. Bacterial community structure and composition were significantly different between As amended and unamended plots, as well as between the flooding treatments. Proteobacteria was the predominant phylum detected in most treatments with relative abundance of 24-29%. The relative abundance of iron-reducing bacteria was higher with the continuous flood compared to the intermittent-flood treatment, implying greater relative iron reduction and possibly As release from the iron oxides under the continuously flooded conditions. These differences in rhizosphere-microbial communities may have contributed to the lower pore-water arsenic concentrations in the intermittently flooded conditions. 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Somenahally, A. C., Hollister, E. B., Loeppert, R. H., Yan, W., & Gentry, T. J.

citation count

  • 68

complete list of authors

  • Somenahally, Anil C||Hollister, Emily B||Loeppert, Richard H||Yan, Wengui||Gentry, Terry J

publication date

  • January 2011