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Impact of arsenic contaminated groundwater used during domestic scale post harvesting of paddy crop in West Bengal: Arsenic partitioning in raw and parboiled whole grain

Chowdhury, Nilanjana Roy, Ghosh, Soma, Joardar, Madhurima, Kar, Duhita, Roychowdhury, Tarit
Chemosphere 2018
arsenic, groundwater, groundwater contamination, harvesting, hulls, ingestion, paddies, parboiling, principal component analysis, rice, risk, surface water, water harvesting, whole grain foods, India
The role of post harvesting procedures for producing parboiled rice grain using arsenic (As) contaminated groundwater in rural Bengal was investigated. Considerable high concentrations of As (mean: 186 μg/kg) were found in about 82% of parboiled rice grain samples compared to raw or non-parboiled rice grain samples (66 μg/kg in 75% samples) obtained from Deganga, a highly As affected zone located in West Bengal, India. This observation instigated to study the additional entry of As at various stages of parboiling. A maximum increase of 205% of As content in parboiled rice grain was observed. Significant increase in parboiled whole grain As concentration was dependent upon the large difference between As concentrations of the water and the raw whole grain used for parboiling. Arsenic concentrations of water samples collected at raw, half boiled and full boiled stages of parboiling increased, irrespective of their initial concentration due to reduction in final volume during parboiling process. Principle component analysis shows a positive correlation of As concentration of rice grain to that in the groundwater being used in post harvesting procedure. Moreover, partitioning studies of As in whole grain indicated higher accumulation of As content in individual rice grain than that in their respective husks implying higher risk of exposure on ingestion of these contaminated rice grains. It is therefore, suggested to employ novel methods such as rain water harvesting or surface water channelling to make As free water available for parboiling process to curtail the entry of additional As in parboiled rice.