Oryza sativa, better known as Asian rice, provides nutrition for much of the world's population. Thus, any toxic elements which may accumulate in rice could have impacts on food security. In China, industrialization has resulted in the release of mercury into the atmosphere. From the atmosphere, mercury deposits onto rice paddies where it is transformed into methylmercury (MeHg). The MeHg accumulates in rice grains and can expose humans to mercury.
To better quantify the bioaccumulation of MeHg in rice grains, we have built a model which details the processes by which mercury cycles through the rice paddies. Using the results of this model, we can identify which provinces are currently at risk for mercury exposure through rice. We can also use the model to predict the impacts of recently implemented policy, which may limit the release of mercury into the atmosphere.