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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 188; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020188

Biomethylation and Volatilization of Arsenic by Model Protozoan Tetrahymena pyriformis under Different Phosphate Regimes

Jinan Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Jinan 250014, China
Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
Shandong Analysis and Test Center, Shandong Academy of Sciences, Jinan 250014, China
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helena Solo-Gabriele
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2121 KB, uploaded 14 February 2017]   |  


Tetrahymena pyriformis, a freshwater protozoan, is common in aquatic systems. Arsenic detoxification through biotransformation by T. pyriformis is important but poorly understood. Arsenic metabolic pathways (including cellular accumulation, effluxion, biomethylation, and volatilization) of T. pyriformis were investigated at various phosphate concentrations. The total intracellular As concentration increased markedly as the external phosphate concentration decreased. The highest concentration was 168.8 mg·kg−1 dry weight, after exposure to As(V) for 20 h. Inorganic As was dominant at low phosphate concentrations (3, 6, and 15 mg·L−1), but the concentration was much lower at 30 mg·L−1 phosphate, and As(V) contributed only ~7% of total cellular As. Methylated As contributed 84% of total As at 30 mg·L−1 phosphate, and dimethylarsenate (DMAs(V)) was dominant, contributing up to 48% of total As. Cellular As effluxion was detected, including inorganic As(III), methylarsenate (MAs(V)) and DMAs(V). Volatile As was determined at various phosphate concentrations in the medium. All methylated As concentrations (intracellular, extracellular, and volatilized) had significant linear positive relationships with the initial phosphate concentration. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of As biotransformation by protozoa at different phosphate concentrations. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; accumulation; biotransformation; phosphate; protozoan; Tetrahymena pyriformis arsenic; accumulation; biotransformation; phosphate; protozoan; Tetrahymena pyriformis

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Yin, X.; Wang, L.; Zhang, Z.; Fan, G.; Liu, J.; Sun, K.; Sun, G.-X. Biomethylation and Volatilization of Arsenic by Model Protozoan Tetrahymena pyriformis under Different Phosphate Regimes. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 188.

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