The transfer of radiocaesium to ewes through a breeding cycle – an illustration of the pitfalls of the transfer coefficient

Beresford, N.A.; Mayes, R.W.; Barnett, C.L.; Howard, B.J.. 2007 The transfer of radiocaesium to ewes through a breeding cycle – an illustration of the pitfalls of the transfer coefficient. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 98 (1-2). 24-35. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2006.10.004

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A study to measure the transfer of radiocaesium to adult female sheep through a breeding cycle is described. The transfer of radiocaesium from the diet to muscle (estimated as the equilibrium transfer coefficient) was significantly lower to pregnant, and especially lactating, animals compared to non-lactating and barren animals. High dry matter intake rates were also associated with significantly lower transfer coefficients. Known relationships between dry matter intake rates and protein turnover could credibly explain some of these differences. However, when described as the concentration ratio, radiocaesium transfer to meat was apparently highest during lactation. The apparent difference in results obtained by the two approaches of determining transfer is the consequence of daily dry matter intake being a denominator within the estimation of transfer coefficient. A wider discussion of transfer coefficients and concentration ratios leads us to suggest that the concentration ratio is the more robust and potentially generic parameter.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2006.10.004
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals
CEH Sections: Shore
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: transfer coefficient, concentration ratio, radiocaesium, sheep, dry matter intake, pregnancy, lactation, radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Nov 2007 11:27 +0 (UTC)

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