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Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Vol. 224, No. xx, 2013; Pages: 1-38

Microbial Interactions in the Arsenic Cycle: Adoptive Strategies and Applications in Environmental Management

Umesh Praveen Dhuldhaj, Ishwar Chandra Yadav, Surendra Singh, Naveen Kumar Sharma

CAS in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, UP, 221005, India.


The term “arsenic” is derived from the Persian word “zarnikh” meaning “yellow orpiment” (As2S3) (Rensing and Rosen 2009). Arsenic (As) is a metalloid (Table 1) and has a single naturally occurring isotope As75 (Rensing and Rosen 2009). It occurs in four primary oxidation states, viz., arsenate [As(V)], arsenite [As(III)], elemental arsenic [As(0)], and arsenide [As(−III)]. Arsenic compounds have no known biological roles. Formerly, As found applications in medicine in ancient civilizations (Datta et al. 1979). It has also been used in the cosmetic and agriculture industries (insecticide, desiccant, rodenticide, and herbicide). However, in recent times, the element has acquired notoriety for its toxicity to humans. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has included arsenic in the list of “20 most hazardous substances” (Rensing and Rosen 2009).


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