An LSU Agcenter agronomist will help determine whether levels of arsenic in rice are higher in different varieties and whether the methods used to flood paddies affect arsenic content.

The Advocate reports the project will be under the direction of Dustin Harrell at the Agcenter's rice research station in Crowley.

All plants absorb arsenic from the soil, he said. But rice tends to absorb more because it grows in flooded conditions where arsenic is more available for absorption.

The testing is being conducted in major rice-growing states, including Texas, California, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana.