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Dr Paul Williams

Formerly at Lancaster University

Paul Williams

Research Interests

Paul has published extensively in the field of food safety and belongs to Lancaster Universities’ Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.  His work on arsenic in rice has received international recognition being identified by Thompson Reuters, Essential Science Indicators, November 2009, Environment & Ecology category as the most cited paper in the Fast Moving Front “Arsenic Speciation”. He has authored nine papers for the journal Environmental Science and Technology, which is one of the leading publications in the discipline. The current average citations associated with these studies is 67 with two publications >100 citations each. Last year his peer reviewed papers, including those co-authored received c. 275 citations. His h-factor is currently 17.

Rice paddies are intermediates between terrestrial and aquatic systems, with distinctive biogeochemical characteristics arising from periodic submergence and drainage events. Understanding element solubility, rates of replenishment from the soil solid phase and bioavailability is implicit in tailoring rice cultivation not only to bolster levels of essential nutrients such as Zn, Fe and Se, but also to palliate the accumulation of As and Cd in grains. Developing upon holistic monitoring and predictive tools championed by Wang Xiarong and Zhang Hao, the focus of Paul's current research is to further evolve practical strategies that can protect and safeguard rice production.

Specific areas of interest

  • Nutrient deficiencies.
  • Ecophysiology responses in Oryza sativa L. to metal(loid) exposures.
  • Chemical speciation of arsenic and other redox sensitive elements in biota, water and soil.
  • Application of ecotoxicity assays to environmental samples.
  • Identifying Potential Toxic Elements (PTEs) in human food-chains, derived from environmental sources.
  • Elemental sources and cycling within the environment.
  • Organometal compounds and complexes.
  • Development of novel experimental and sample preparation methodologies for environmental analysis. 
  • Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT).
  • Mechanisms of metal release within paddy soils, in the context of transport and reaction dynamics fuelled by the carbon cycle.
  • Key Analytical Techniques used: ICP-MS, LC-ICP-MS, Lazer Ablation-ICP-MS. ESI-LC-ICP-MS.

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