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Sci Total Environ. 1999 Sep 15;236(1-3):173-80.

Influence of microbes on the mobilization, toxicity and biomethylation of arsenic in soil.

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Department of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Lahti, Finland.


To understand the effects of microbial activity on the mobilization and speciation of arsenic in soil, the cycling of arsenic was studied in microcosm experiments under laboratory conditions. Particular attention was paid to the biomethylation of arsenic and to the toxicity of inorganic and organic arsenic species for microbes. Microbes enhanced mobilization of arsenic from soil by 19-24% compared to formaldehyde inhibited controls. Formation of dissolved methylated arsenic species by microbes was low (< 0.1%) during the 5-day incubation. Even though methylation may function as a detoxification method, it was of minor importance in the soil tested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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