International Journal of Agriculture, Environment and Biotechnology
Citation: IJAEB: 8(1): 189-204 March 2015
DOI Number: 10.5958/2230-732X.2015.00025.X
©2015 New Delhi Publishers. All rights reserved
Arsenic distribution in environment and
its bioremediation: A review
Sathi Paul 1 , Somsubhra Chakraborty* 1 , Md. Nasim Ali 1 and D.P. Ray 2
1 IRDM Faculty Centre, RKMVU, Kolkata-700103, India
2 National Institute of Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology, Kolkata-700040, India.
*Corresponding author:
Paper No. 309
Received: 14 January 2015
Accepted: 4 March 2015
Published: 25 March 2015
Arsenic (As) is a naturally occurring toxic metalloid which is introduced into the environment through
natural geochemical processes and several anthropogenic actions. Since it is a carcinogen, there is an
urgent need to efficiently remove As from contaminated soil and water. This review elaborates the
chemistry and environmental distribution of As along with several bioremediation approaches to
alleviate As pollution.
  • Arsenic is a ubiquitous element and ranks 20 th in earth’s crust and is widely distributed in a variety of minerals,
  • commonly as arsenide of iron, copper, lead, silver and gold or as sulphide minerals
  • Arsenic is also introduced into the environment through various anthropogenic activities
  • Microorganisms control the environmental fate of Arsenic through various mechanisms resulting changes in
  • solubility and/or toxicity of different Arsenic species
    Keywords: Arsenic, Bioremediation, Carcinogen, Contamination
    An Omnipresent Environmental Pollutant
    +5 (arsenate) with the predominant forms being As
    Toxic inorganic and organic chemicals are the main
    (III) and As (V) (Cullen and Reimer 1989). Arsenic
    reasons for environment contamination and pose
    occurs naturally in soils as a result of the weathering
    a major health threat to the human population.
    of igneous and sedimentary rocks (Boyle et al. , 1973).
    Deterrence of future contamination from these
    The mean concentration ofAs in igneous rocks ranges
    compounds presents an immense technical challenge
    from 1.5 to 3.0 mg kg −1 ,whereasinsedimentaryrocks,
    (Evans et al. , 2004). Arsenic (As, Atom Number 33,
    it ranges from 1.7 to 400 mg kg −1 (Smith et al. , 1998).
    Atom. Wt. 74.9216), the 20th most abundant element
    More than 300 As containing minerals are found in
    in the earth crust (National Research Council 1977),
    nature with approx. 60% being arsenates, 20% being
    is a naturally occurring toxic metalloid. With an
    sulphides and sulphosalts, 10% being oxides and the
    electron configuration of 3d104s24px14py14pz1, it
    rest being arsenites, arsenides, native elements and
    belongs to group V and period 3 in the periodic table
    metal alloys (Bowell and Parshley, 2001). The most
    of elements. It readily changes its oxidation state and
    abundant and widespread As containing mineral is
    bonding configuration, producing four oxidation
    arsenopyrite (FeAsS) which is commonly found in
    states: 0 (elemental), -3 (arsine), +3 (arsenite), and
    pegmatites, high-temperature gold-quartz and tin
    veins, and also in contact with metamorphic sulfide