Variations in grain cadmium and arsenic concentrations and screening for stable low-accumulating rice cultivars from multi-environment trials

Yihan CHI, Fangbai LI, Nora Fung-Yee TAM, Chuanping LIU, Yun OUYANG, Xiaoli QI, Wai Chin LI, Zhihong YE

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7 Citations (Scopus)


In order to help mitigate widespread cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) co-contamination in paddy soils in China, screening and breeding of low-accumulating rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars (excluders) have been widely adopted. However, the performance of rice cultivars for grain Cd and As accumulation may vary in different growing environments. The inability to identify stable low-accumulating cultivars has largely hindered their application. In this study, 51 rice cultivars were evaluated at four Cd- and As-contaminated paddy sites in two crop seasons in northern Guangdong Province, China. The aim was to investigate the effects of cultivar, environment and their interactions in determining grain Cd and As concentrations, and so to identify stable low-accumulating cultivars. Results showed that environment effects dominated the Cd and As concentrations in rice grains, explaining 87% of the total variations. The crop season played a vital role; compared to early season, grain Cd levels increased and As levels lowered significantly in late season. Large variations in grain Cd, total As, inorganic As concentrations and the percentage of inorganic As were observed between different cultivars. Conventional japonica cultivars exhibited lower Cd levels but higher As levels in the grains than did indica cultivars. The cultivar × environment interaction (CEI) was significant, and its importance was comparable to the cultivar effect. By measuring and interpreting such an interaction, stable Cd and As excluder cultivars were identified based upon the yield, grain Cd and As levels as well as the stabilities of cultivars across the trial environments. Two stable Cd and As co-excluders were found among the hybrid indica cultivars. These results demonstrated that the variations in grain Cd and As concentrations could mainly be attributed to the environment effects and cultivar selection practices should include the analysis of CEI to identify stable low-accumulating rice cultivars. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1324
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date04 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018




Chi, Y., Li, F., Tam, N. F.-Y., Liu, C., Ouyang, Y., Qi, X., . . . Ye, Z. (2018). Variations in grain cadmium and arsenic concentrations and screening for stable low-accumulating rice cultivars from multi-environment trials. Science of The Total Environment, 643, 1314-1324. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.288


  • Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
  • Cultivar selection
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic
  • Food safety
  • Excluder cultivars