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Arsenic contamination in sesame and possible mitigation through organic interventions in the lower Gangetic Plain of West Bengal, India

Sinha, Bishwajit, Bhattacharyya, Kallol, Giri, Pradip K, Sarkar, Supradip
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2011 v.91 no.15 pp. 2762-2767
animal manures, arsenic, dietary exposure, food chain, food intoxication, groundwater, groundwater contamination, mustard oil cake, organic matter, rice, risk, risk reduction, sesame oil, sesame seed, soil, soil amendments, surface irrigation, surface water, India
BACKGROUND: The widespread geogenic arsenic contamination of groundwater in the Gangetic Delta of West Bengal, leading to toxicities through the food chain—principally through irrigated rice—drew due attention from researchers. Oilseeds such as sesame might be a remunerative alternative to rice and can be grown with small quantities of contaminated groundwater. RESULTS: The present study was conducted to explore the efficiency of organic matter in reducing arsenic accumulation in sesame. Accumulation of total arsenic in sesame seed and available arsenic in post‐harvest soils varied from 0.08 to 0.58 mg kg−1 and from 3.87 to 8.89 kg ha−1, respectively. The organic manures added as soil amendment significantly reduced the accumulation (concentration) of arsenic in sesame seed to a maximum extent of 65.5% (vermicompost), 50% (phosphocompost), 42% (mustard cake) and 40% (farmyard manure (FYM)) compared with the control counterpart. The risk associated with dietary exposure to arsenic‐contaminated sesame oil reached a value of 15.55% of provisional tolerable weekly intake for arsenic at the maximum accumulation of arsenic in sesame oil. CONCLUSION: Substantial accumulation of arsenic in the soil–plant system was found. Risks of exposure to arsenic‐contaminated oil remained considerably high. Irrigation through surface water and organic amendments both significantly reduced arsenic accumulation in sesame.