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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Water resources, Marine biology, Freshwater biology


Arsenic occurs in the natural environment in four oxidation states: As(V), As(III), As(0) and As(−III). The behavior of arsenic species changes depending on the biotic or abiotic conditions in water. In groundwater, arsenic is predominantly present as As(III) and As(V), with a minor amount of methyl and dimethyl arsenic compounds being reported. Global intake of As(III) and As(V) via drinking water and food has dramatically increased in recent years. The commonly used term inorganic arsenic includes both As(III) and As(V) species and constitutes the highest toxicological risk associated with arsenic in water compared to the organic arsenic species. Inorganic arsenic is a confirmed carcinogen and the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a guideline value for arsenic in their ‘Guidelines for drinking water quality’ and is on the WHO list of 10 chemicals of major public health concern. Presently, approximately, 230 million people worldwide are affected by arsenic toxicity. Chronic arsenic toxicity affects multiple physiological systems and can cause serious health issues (e.g. arsenicosis, cancer etc.) leading to death. To combat arsenic pollution, the WHO and United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) have set concentration limits for arsenic in drinking water. The WHO, US-EPA and European Union (EU) have set the maximum limit of arsenic in drinking water at 10 ppb. To meet the required limit, it is essential that rapid, reliable, sensitive and cost-effective analytical detection systems be developed and put into use. Different determination methods of inorganic arsenic have been developed over the last 5–6 decades. This review provides an overview of around 170 research articles and relevant literature, mainly regarding the existing methods for analysis of As(III) and As(V) in water. Chromatographic, spectroscopic, colorimetric, biological (whole cell biosensors (WCB) and aptasensors), electroanalytical and coupled techniques are discussed. For those who are at the early stage of their research career in this field, the basic introduction and necessary concepts for various techniques is discussed followed by an evaluation of their performance towards arsenic determination. Current challenges as well as potential avenues for future research, including the demands for enhanced analytical performance, rapid analysis and on-site technologies for remote water analysis and environmental applications are discussed. We believe that this review will be beneficial, a source of information, and enhance awareness and appreciation of the role of these advanced analytical techniques in informing and protecting our environment and water resources, globally. Environmental signicance Global intake of arsenic via drinking water is a major environmental concern: As(III)/As(V) species constitutes the highest toxicological-risk. To combat arsenic pollution and associated toxicity, WHO and EPA have regulations, guidelines and introduced directives for arsenic concentration limits in drinking water. The existing laboratory-based methods are suitable for arsenic analysis but are time-consuming, expensive and require skilled analysts and extensive sample preparation. Rapid, cost-effective and reliable portable techniques and on-site sensor-based methods are the emerging needs. This review provides an overview of various analytical techniques for arsenic detection and determination in water, and will enhance awareness of their role in informing and protecting our environment and water resources, globally. 1. Introduction Water covers more than 70% of our planet's surface. Because life on Earth began in water, it is not surprising that all living organisms on our blue planet require water. Water is in fact the most valuable environmental natural resource, vital to global need, a transport corridor and a climate regulator. Global intake a MiCRA Biodiagnostics Technology Gateway, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), Dublin 24, D24 FKT9, Ireland. E-mail:; Tel: +353 1 220 7863 b Centre of Applied Science for Health, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), Dublin 24, D24 FKT9, Ireland c School of Food Science & Environmental Health, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), Grangegorman, Dublin 7, D07 H6K8, Ireland d Pesticide Registration Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Backweston Laboratory Campus, Celbridge, County Kildare W23 VW2C, Ireland Cite this: Environ. Sci.: Adv., 2023, 2, 171 Received 8th September 2022 Accepted 4th November 2022 DOI: 10.1039/d2va00218c © 2023 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry Environ. Sci.: Adv., 2023, 2, 171–195 | 171 Environmental Science Advances TUTORIAL REVIEW Open Access Article. Published on 07 November 2022. Downloaded on 3/1/2023 9:48:16 AM. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. View Article Online.