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Environmental fate & pathways

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Arsenic acid (AA) is an inorganic compound of arsenic (As). AA being an inorganic chemical, biodegradation is not applicable. However, biotransformation mediated by organisms influenced the environmental fate of As.


Modes of biotransformation involve redox transformation between arsenite and arsenate, reduction and methylation of As, biosynthesis of organoarsenic compounds. The biomethylation and bioreduction are considered the most important pathways. Such biotransformation of As species occurs in the soil, in sediments, in plants and animals, and in zones of biological activity in the oceans.

Under aerobic conditions, the mixed microbial cultures of lake sediments were able to reduce arsenate (the predominant from of As in water) to arsenite and a variety of methylated arsenicals, and also to oxidise arsenite to arsenate.

Under anaerobic conditions, however, only reduction occurs.

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