LSU researcher studies arsenic in rice

An LSU Agcenter agronomist will help determine whether levels of arsenic in rice are higher in different varieties and if the methods used to flood paddies affect arsenic content.

“Can we change the water management practices to alter the uptake and accumulation of arsenic in rice? That’s what we are investigating,” said Dustin Harrell, who works at the Agcenter’s Rice Research Station in Crowley.

All plants absorb arsenic from the soil. But rice tends to absorb more because it grows in flooded, anaerobic conditions where arsenic is more available for absorption.

The testing is being conducted in all rice-growing states, including Texas, California, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana.