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High arsenic (As) concentrations in the soil, water and plant systems can pose a direct health risk to humans and ecosystems. Phosphate (Pi) ions strongly influence As availability in soil, its uptake and toxicity to plants. Better understanding of As(V)-Pi interactions in soils and plants will facilitate a potential remediation strategy for As contaminated soils, reducing As uptake by crop plants and toxicity to human populations via manipulation of soil Pi content. However, the As(V)-Pi interactions in soil-plant systems are complex, leading to contradictory findings among different studies. Therefore, this review investigates the role of soil type, soil properties, minerals, Pi levels in soil and plant, Pi transporters, mycorrhizal association and microbial activities on As-Pi interactions in soils and hydroponics, and uptake by plants, elucidate the key mechanisms, identify key knowledge gaps and recommend new research directions. Although Pi suppresses As uptake by plants in hydroponic systems, in soils it could either increase or decrease As availability and toxicity to plants depending on the soil types, properties and charge characteristics. In soil, As(V) availability is typically increased by the addition of Pi. At the root surface, the Pi transport system has high affinity for Pi over As(V). However, Pi concentration in plant influences the As transport from roots to shoots. Mycorrhizal association may reduce As uptake via a physiological shift to the mycorrhizal uptake pathway, which has a greater affinity for Pi over As(V) than the root epidermal uptake pathway.
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