Differential impacts of copper oxide nanoparticles and Copper(II) ions on the uptake and accumulation of arsenic in rice (Oryza sativa) Academic Article uri icon


  • Arsenic (As) in rice grains is a serious food safety concern. Some coexisting engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) were shown to alter the accumulation and speciation of As in rice grains. However, investigation on the effects of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs), a popular ingredient in pesticides, on the uptake and accumulation of As is rare. We explored the potentially different impact of CuO NPs and corresponding Cu(II) ions on the accumulation of two As species in rice seedlings in a hydroponic system. Rice seedlings were treated with a combinations of 1 mg/L of arsenite (As(III)) or arsenate (As(V)) and 100 mg/L of CuO NPs or Cu(II) for 6 days. Both forms of Cu significantly reduced the accumulation of total As in rice tissues, with Cu(II) exhibiting significantly greater effect than CuO NPs. As speciation in rice roots was markedly affected by both forms of Cu, and the impacts were Cu-form dependent. For example, the co-existence of As(V) with CuO NPs led to a 45% decrease of As(V) in rice roots, while the co-existence of As(V) with Cu(II) caused a 47% increase in As(V) in rice roots. As speciation in rice shoots was less affected by co-present Cu than in rice roots. Co-occurring As(III) or As(V) lowered Cu concentration in rice roots by 40% and 50% in treatments with CuO NPs, but did not affect Cu content in rice roots co-exposed to Cu(II). The study confirmed the reciprocal effect of co-occurring CuO NPs or Cu(II) and As in rice paddies and highlighted the unique "nano-effect" of CuO NPs. The results alsos showed that the initial oxidation state of As plays an important role in the interactions between As and Cu. The results shed light on the current debate on the safe applications of nano-enabled agrichemicals vs. conventional metal salts in agriculture.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, X., Sun, W., & Ma, X.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • June 2019