Associate Prof. Yanshan Chen published a research paper in Environmental Science & Technology. (2019, 53(17), 10062−10069)
Rice (Oryza sativa) is a major food crop in the world, feeding half of the world’s population. However, rice is efficient in taking up toxic metalloid arsenic (As), adversely impacting human health. Among different As species, inorganic As is more toxic than organic As. Thus, it is important to decrease inorganic As in rice to reduce human exposure from the food chain. The arsenite (AsIII) antiporter gene PvACR3;1 from As-hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata decreases shoot As accumulation when heterologously expressed in plants. In this study, three homozygous transgenic lines (L2, L4, and L7) of T3 generation were obtained after transforming PvACR3;1 into rice. At 5 μM of AsIII, PvACR3;1 transgenic rice accumulated 127%–205% higher As in the roots, with lower As translocation than wild type (WT) plants. In addition, at 20 μM of AsV, the transgenic rice showed similar results, indicating that expressing PvACR3;1 increased As retention in the roots from both AsIII and AsV. Furthermore, PvACR3;1 transgenic rice plants were grown in As-contaminated soils under flooded conditions. PvACR3;1 decreased As accumulations in transgenic rice shoots by 72%–83% without impacting nutrient minerals (Mn, Zn, and Cu). In addition, not only total As in unhusked rice grain of PvACR3;1 transgenic lines were decreased by 28%–39%, but also inorganic As was 26%–46% lower. Taken together, the results showed that expressing PvACR3;1 effectively decreased both total As and inorganic As in rice grain, which is of significance to breed low-As rice for food safety and human health.